TACOMA, Wash. — The coronavirus pandemic has left many families struggling to make ends meet, but new monthly payments starting this week seek to make things a little easier.
"COVID’s stressful enough, but knowing I can do a little bit more, is really going to help me," said Carolyn Solitaire of Tacoma, who has a son and said the new tax credit program provided by President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan will help them stay afloat.
Starting Thursday, July 15, monthly payments will be sent to families with children. For children ages 6-17, families will get $250 per child, and that amount goes up to $300 for every child under six-years-old.
Lawmakers said that by putting money in people’s hands now, instead of waiting for their tax returns, it will give households some immediate relief when they need it most.
“I think one thing about the housing crisis that we don’t think about is, there are families that’re silently on the verge of homelessness,” said Washington Rep. Marilyn Strickland. “Sometimes a couple hundred dollars is the difference between paying your rent, paying your mortgage, and staying securely housed, as opposed to being on the precipice of being homeless.”
The program is expected to end in December, but if it's deemed a success, House Democrats hope it could be extended beyond that.
While the relief is appreciated, Solitaire said the tax credit may not go as far as it needs to as some assistance programs come to an end and the cost of living continues to go up.
“The rent moratorium is going to end soon… When that stops, think about what the owners are going to do. Everybody wants to make up that money they lost during the pandemic,” said Solitaire. “The child tax credit gives you $300, the rent goes up $400. That’s a lot. So where are we? The food’s gone up, the rent’s went up, utilities have gone up, gas has gone up. So where are we? It’s an awful situation. What do you do?”