Social IMPACT Research Center Publications

The Social IMPACT Research Center has an extensive portfolio of needs assessment and evaluation research on issues facing poor and low-income populations. Our user-friendly work equips nonprofits, foundations, and governments to advance real-world solutions to poverty.
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IMPACT Report: Employment and Income Navigation Pilot Program

October 25, 2023

The Chicago Continuum of Care's (CoC) Employment and Income Task Force developed an intervention, the Employment and Income Navigation Pilot Program, to integrate employment navigators and SSI/SSDI SOAR advocates into the CoC'S Expedited Housing Initiative. The pilot has played a vital role in bringing together the workforce, homelessness, and disability benefits systems. To assess how the program was implemented during its 1st year, we conducted a comprehensive mixed methods evaluation using a combination of primary and secondary data sources. The evaluation brief provides valuable insights into the pilot program's impact and areas for improvement. Key findings revealed supporting jobseekers experiencing homelessness through employment navigators and SOAR advocates is of paramount importance. However, we also found communication obstacles, separate data systems, and the necessity of additional resources for sustainability. We formulated actionable recommendations to enhance the program's impact and offered guidance for future programs and evaluations.   

Expanded Child Tax Credits: Impact and Experiences - Spending on Basic Needs (Spotlight on Illinois)

April 28, 2023

During the COVID-19 global pandemic, Congress passed major funding packages that included financial assistance payments to supplement the incomes of individuals and families. In response, the Get My Payment Illinois (GMPIL) Coalition formed in April 2020 to help low-income Illinoisans receive stimulus funds. The coalition is comprised of the Economic Awareness Council, New America Chicago, Heartland Alliance, and Heartland Human Care Services. In May 2020, the coalition launched a website, GetMyPaymentIL.org. In March 2021, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) increased and expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC). The coalition began to also work with government and nonprofit partners to spread the word about the Child Tax Credit (CTC).Heartland Alliance's Social IMPACT Research Center (IMPACT) and New America Chicago engaged in research for GMPIL to (a) share the impact of CTC expansion on low-income Illinois families to bolster the case for a permanently expanded federal CTC and (b) advocate for improvements to the IRS non-filer tool to strengthen access to the CTC and Earned Income Tax Credit in the long-term. IMPACT focused primarily on accomplishing the first research goal. To that end, we analyzed data from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey (IPUMS CPS) and the Household Pulse Survey to estimate Illinois families' take up of CTC payments, including demographics--and how they spent those payments--as well as demographics of eligible families who did not receive CTC payments. We conducted interviews with eight families who claimed CTC payments and were intermittent filers (i.e., did not file taxes every year) to learn about their experiences claiming CTC and the impact of the CTC on their lives.Results from this study showed that only a little over half of eligible Latino/a/x and two thirds of eligible Asian families received CTC payments, compared to about three-quarters of eligible White, Black, and multiracial families. Middle-income families made up the largest portion of CTC recipients compared to higher and lower[1]income families. Most families used CTC payments mostly to pay off debt. CTC payments helped low-income families reduce financial insecurities, but families also experienced barriers in accessing payments. Results on spending behaviors showed that the top use for funds was on food, followed by clothing and utilities / telecommunications. 

Impact and Experiences of Illinoisans in Accessing the Expanded Child Tax Credit: Full Report

April 28, 2023

During the COVID-19 global pandemic, Congress passed major funding packages that included financial assistance payments to supplement the incomes of individuals and families. In response, the Get My Payment Illinois (GMPIL) Coalition formed in April 2020 to help low-income Illinoisans receive stimulus funds. The coalition is comprised of the Economic Awareness Council, New America Chicago, Heartland Alliance, and Heartland Human Care Services. In May 2020, the coalition launched a website, GetMyPaymentIL.org. In March 2021, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) increased and expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC). The coalition began to also work with government and nonprofit partners to spread the word about the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Heartland Alliance's Social IMPACT Research Center (IMPACT) and New America Chicago engaged in research for GMPIL to (a) share the impact of CTC expansion on low-income Illinois families to bolster the case for a permanently expanded federal CTC and (b) advocate for improvements to the IRS non-filer tool to strengthen access to the CTC and Earned Income Tax Credit in the long-term. IMPACT focused primarily on accomplishing the first research goal. To that end, we analyzed data from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey (IPUMS CPS) and the Household Pulse Survey to estimate Illinois families' take up of CTC payments, including demographics--and how they spent those payments--as well as demographics of eligible families who did not receive CTC payments. We conducted interviews with eight families who claimed CTC payments and were intermittent filers (i.e., did not file taxes every year) to learn about their experiences claiming CTC and the impact of the CTC on their lives.Results from this study showed that only a little over half of eligible Latino/a/x and two thirds of eligible Asian families received CTC payments, compared to about three-quarters of eligible White, Black, and multiracial families. Middle-income families made up the largest portion of CTC recipients compared to higher and lower income families. Most families used CTC payments mostly to pay off debt. CTC payments helped low-income families reduce financial insecurities, but families also experienced barriers in accessing payments.

Expanded Child Tax Credits: Impact and Experiences - Tax Filing Challenges (Spotlight on Illinois)

April 28, 2023

During the COVID-19 global pandemic, Congress passed major funding packages that included financial assistance payments to supplement the incomes of individuals and families. In response, the Get My Payment Illinois (GMPIL) Coalition formed in April 2020 to help low-income Illinoisans receive stimulus funds. The coalition is comprised of the Economic Awareness Council, New America Chicago, Heartland Alliance, and Heartland Human Care Services. In May 2020, the coalition launched a website, GetMyPaymentIL.org. In March 2021, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) increased and expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC). The coalition began to also work with government and nonprofit partners to spread the word about the Child Tax Credit (CTC).Heartland Alliance's Social IMPACT Research Center (IMPACT) and New America Chicago engaged in research for GMPIL to (a) share the impact of CTC expansion on low-income Illinois families to bolster the case for a permanently expanded federal CTC and (b) advocate for improvements to the IRS non-filer tool to strengthen access to the CTC and Earned Income Tax Credit in the long-term. IMPACT focused primarily on accomplishing the first research goal. To that end, we analyzed data from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey (IPUMS CPS) and the Household Pulse Survey to estimate Illinois families' take up of CTC payments, including demographics--and how they spent those payments--as well as demographics of eligible families who did not receive CTC payments. We conducted interviews with eight families who claimed CTC payments and were intermittent filers (i.e., did not file taxes every year) to learn about their experiences claiming CTC and the impact of the CTC on their lives.Results from this study showed that only a little over half of eligible Latino/a/x and two thirds of eligible Asian families received CTC payments, compared to about three-quarters of eligible White, Black, and multiracial families. Middle-income families made up the largest portion of CTC recipients compared to higher and lower income families. Most families used CTC payments mostly to pay off debt. CTC payments helped low-income families reduce financial insecurities, but families also experienced barriers in accessing payments. In regards to tax filing, the most frequent challenge for most participants was navigating an unfamiliar IRB process.  

Expanded Child Tax Credits: Impact and Experiences - Access to Child Tax Credits (Spotlight on Illinois)

April 28, 2023

During the COVID-19 global pandemic, Congress passed major funding packages that included financial assistance payments to supplement the incomes of individuals and families. In response, the Get My Payment Illinois (GMPIL) Coalition formed in April 2020 to help low-income Illinoisans receive stimulus funds. The coalition is comprised of the Economic Awareness Council, New America Chicago, Heartland Alliance, and Heartland Human Care Services. In May 2020, the coalition launched a website, GetMyPaymentIL.org. In March 2021, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) increased and expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC). The coalition began to also work with government and nonprofit partners to spread the word about the Child Tax Credit (CTC).Heartland Alliance's Social IMPACT Research Center (IMPACT) and New America Chicago engaged in research for GMPIL to (a) share the impact of CTC expansion on low-income Illinois families to bolster the case for a permanently expanded federal CTC and (b) advocate for improvements to the IRS non-filer tool to strengthen access to the CTC and Earned Income Tax Credit in the long-term. IMPACT focused primarily on accomplishing the first research goal. To that end, we analyzed data from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey (IPUMS CPS) and the Household Pulse Survey to estimate Illinois families' take up of CTC payments, including demographics--and how they spent those payments--as well as demographics of eligible families who did not receive CTC payments. We conducted interviews with eight families who claimed CTC payments and were intermittent filers (i.e., did not file taxes every year) to learn about their experiences claiming CTC and the impact of the CTC on their lives.Results from this study showed that only a little over half of eligible Latino/a/x and two thirds of eligible Asian families received CTC payments, compared to about three-quarters of eligible White, Black, and multiracial families. Middle-income families made up the largest portion of CTC recipients compared to higher and lower income families. Most families used CTC payments mostly to pay off debt. CTC payments helped low-income families reduce financial insecurities, but families also experienced barriers in accessing payments.In regards to accessing child tax credits, previous research has shown eligible families with the lowest incomes were the least likely to receive Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments. Other types of eligible families who may not have gotten some or all of their CTC include families who did not filed taxes in 2019, 2020, 2021, or 2022; families who did not use the Internal Revenue Service's non-filer tool in 2021 to claim CTC; and families with immigrant parents whose children have social security numbers.  

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