by LaDonna Pavetti, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
LIFT, a human services organization that provides coaching and unrestricted cash payments to families with children, is one of many agencies using their expertise and resources to address families’ needs during the pandemic. Providing services in this environment has taxed the resources of even the most well-established organizations and the most skilled staff. But it’s also provided an opportunity to learn more about how to improve the circumstances and reduce hardship among families who struggle to make ends meet, even during the best economic times.
LIFT operates in underserved neighborhoods of color in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. About 90 percent of LIFT parents are female, nearly all of whom are women of color. When they are able, they work mostly in retail, hospitality, childcare, home health care, and gig economy jobs that offer low pay and changing and uncertain hours.
Here's what LIFT's front line staff learned: