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Hey America, Our Family Values Are Starting to Show! By Lynne Algrant

Hey America, Our Family Values Are Starting to Show!

I believe that March 2020 and March 2021 will become known as the biggest pendulum swing for women in United States history.

March 2020

The start of the Global Pandemic decimated women’s lives in unparalleled ways. The Pandemic Recession has been named a She-cession because of its overwhelming impact on women, especially women of color. Millions of women lost their jobs or had to leave the workforce to care for others. Those women who continued working outside the home did so at great peril in unsafe and unprotected spaces.

And inside the home, women shouldered the added burdens of teacher assistant and health monitor.

March 2021

The passage of the American Rescue Plan will dramatically change women’s lives in the US for generations, if we fight to keep many of the provisions permanent.

Most of the focus has been on the direct payments of $1,400 per adult and qualifying dependents (including full-time students up to 24 and older adults). So, imagine a family of five, a single mom with two kids, ages 3 and 5, and her retired parents living with her. If she makes, $75,000 or less, they will get a direct payment of $7,000. One can feel her relief from miles away. I am rejoicing in how she will feel after the first good night’s sleep she has had in months.

But the truly game changing provision of the American Rescue Plan is the Child Tax Credit. This tax credit has been extended to families regardless of how little they earn, and it will soon begin to be paid out monthly. So, our single mom is going to start getting $600 a month for her two kids. For her and her family, this is transformative money. $600 a month begins to make afterschool enrichment programs and summer camp possible.

More importantly, it might give her the financial breathing room to invest in herself.

Recently a paper was published on a guaranteed basic income experiment conducted in Stockton, CA. Researchers found that the individuals who received the $500 monthly payments stopped working one of their 2 low wage jobs but started taking classes or launched a business. Contrary to “conventional wisdom” that people will become lazy if you give them money, people responded by bettering themselves and positioning themselves to be better earners, better parents, better friends.

These changes to the Child Tax Credit will reduce the number of children living in poverty by 50%.

Let’s rejoice, for a few minutes, at the lives changed this month.

And the impact will be felt in neighborhoods and communities as well. All over the world, research shows that if you invest in a woman, you change the lives of everyone around her. Starting this month, Women’s History Month 2021, we are going to start seeing those changes in the US as well, because America is investing in women.

The American Rescue Plan reminds us that good, targeted public policy matters; it has the power to change lives and transform communities. At Greater Bergen Community Action we have rejoiced, for a few minutes, and thought deeply about the families we serve, whose lives are about to be dramatically changed in the coming weeks.

And then we rolled up our sleeves and got to work:

--What can we do about the other 50% of children who will still be in poverty? Ensure that they get a quality Head Start.

--How can we help adults gain the Education, Training and Citizenship that will improve their economic opportunities?

--How can we use 1st Bergen Credit Union and our Financial Literacy programs to help families save, build credit, and plan for the future?

--And we will continue to advocate for transformative public policies that lift up individuals, families and communities.

Join us; donate to support our outreach efforts at

Lives Changed Here.


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