Settlement House American Rescue Plan (SHARP) Impact Study Wave 2 Brief

Download PDF

The Study

NCCP contributed to the design and implementation of the Settlement House American Recovery Plan (SHARP) Impact Study, a mixed-method study of parents at New York City settlement houses from 2021-23, during the pandemic recovery period. The Study focused on access to the Expanded Child Tax Credit and other programs available through the ARP.

The Sample

  • More than half of these parents (56%) reported less than $25,000 in annual household income.
  • A high proportion were immigrant parents, with 58% reporting that they were born outside of the U.S.
  • All participants had at least one child under 17 years of age who was born in the U.S. (and thus were eligible for monthly benefits through the expanded Child Tax Credit in the latter half of 2021).

High-Level Findings of Wave 2

By early 2023, some parents had benefited from the ongoing, but uneven, economic recovery: 21 percent of parents reported being unemployed in wave 2, compared to 28 percent in wave 1. However, these gains were offset by the persistently low incomes of most settlement house families and the ongoing material hardships they face:

  • Nearly half (47 percent) of families reported earning less than $25,000 a year.
  • About 23 percent of respondents indicated that they had had a period of unemployment in the past year that exceeded three months; long employment gaps were more prevalent among Black and Latinx parents.
  • Multiple hardships persist: 23 percent of SHARP parents indicated that they experienced at least three out of six hardships included in the survey (food, housing, utilities, childcare, healthcare, and “other needs”).

In particular, many settlement house families continue to experience food insecurity and struggle with rising food costs:

  • One third (33 percent) of parents had visited a food bank in the last seven days. Many parents reported that their families were dependent
    on food pantries; some even organized their schedules around standing in long lines for essentials to feed their children.
  • Some noted in interviews that they were undocumented and had limited options for other emergency food assistance.
  • Nearly one in four (23 percent) respondents reported that they were “sometimes unable to afford food for their children,” with an additional 10 percent reporting they were “often” or “always” unable to do so.
  • Nearly half (48 percent) of respondents said that it was hard to pay for their housing; Black and Latinx parents were more likely than other parents in the full sample to have reported experiencing housing-related hardships.
  • Among those who rent their housing, 33 percent of respondents fell behind on their rent payments. More than half of Black parents who participated in the survey reported experiencing this hardship.

Many settlement house families reported significant levels of debt and unpaid bills. Many interviewees in wave 1 indicated that they had spent all their savings during the first year or so of the pandemic, and then relied on credit cards or loans to pay for basic needs. In wave 2:

  • More than half (51 percent) of SHARP respondents reported unpaid bills or debt, with 30 percent of all parents carrying higher amounts of debt than one year ago.
  • More than one in five (22 percent) survey participants reported carrying more than $10,000 in non-mortgage-related debt, such as credit card or student loan debt.
  • Parents who experience multiple material hardships are also more likely to be burdened by non-mortgage debt; a parent reporting five hardships is 5.3 times more likely to hold more than $10,000 in non-mortgage debt in comparison to a parent reporting no hardships.

It was clear from survey results in wave 2 that some parents had still not accessed the Expanded CTC despite being eligible. Certain characteristics made receipt less likely, including:

  • Having an income under $25,000 or not having a bank account;
  • Not knowing about the CTC expansion or believing they were ineligible for it;
  • Wariness (among immigrant parents) about accepting benefits to which their U.S.-born children are entitled; and
  • Being unbanked.

Download PDF