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More LA Families Face Increased Hunger, Homelessness with Loss of Child Tax Credit

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Census data shows when the Child Tax Credit was available, employment rose slightly more among people with children compared to those without children, dispelling the claim that monthly payments would reduce parentsí desire to work. (Adobe Stock)<br />
Census data shows when the Child Tax Credit was available, employment rose slightly more among people with children compared to those without children, dispelling the claim that monthly payments would reduce parentsí desire to work. (Adobe Stock)<br />
The number of Louisiana families with children reporting they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat in the previous week has increased by 48% in the past year, but advocates said there is a proven solution to the crisis.

The Child Tax Credit helped more than 880,000 families in the Bayou State as they struggled through the pandemic. Many were able to catch up on rent. Others purchased new clothing or school supplies.

Pasquel Nguyen, family consultant at the Capacity Building Center for States and a mother of seven, said with her husband unemployed at the time, they used the monthly payments to help feed the family.

"Also to help with some of our utilities, and as well as putting our son in a high-quality child care," Nguyen recounted.

Census data show when families were receiving the monthly payments of a few hundred dollars a month, nearly four million children were lifted out of poverty. But efforts to renew the Child Tax Credit have faced opposition from conservatives in Congress and some older Americans, who think it is too expensive.

Calls to renew the credit have grown louder since inflation has spiked. Research shows students at high-poverty schools lost an equivalent of 22 weeks of learning during the pandemic, and they are still struggling to catch up. But it is hard for a child to excel in school when they're hungry, or homeless.

Nguyen emphasized the extra income from the expanded Child Tax Credit helped improve her mental health as a parent, and she knows other parents feel the same.

"An investment in families is like infrastructure, and it's like building, you know, on our economy," Nguyen asserted. "Why would we not want to invest in our children and families?"

The Child Tax Credit expired just as the price of food, fuel and housing began to soar, leading more than half of Louisiana adults with children to report it was difficult to pay their regular household bills in September.

Research shows the benefits of the Child Tax Credit, in terms of better health, education and employment outcomes, outweigh the costs ten to one.