PHOENIX — With all the smiles, it’s hard to tell how difficult this year has been for SheQuita Gandy and her four children.
“We struggled with homelessness. We struggled with not having food, practically living out of my car,” she told ABC15.
When you live paycheck to paycheck, it doesn’t take much for life to spin out of control, something that thousands of Arizonans experienced -- and are still experiencing -- amid the pandemic.
Add to it -- hours were cut, businesses were closed, and for some, jobs were lost. Among the most affected: children.
Gandy works at a local hotel and does hair and nails on the side. As a single mom, she said the money she makes does not go very far.
“At the hotel I work, my hours vary versus the housekeepers because I’m a laundry attendant,” Gandy said. “So if they get done early or we don’t sell enough rooms, that cuts my hours.”
Earlier this week, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, his administration's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. Part of that bill includes a provision that raises the child tax credit for a year - $3,000 for children aged 6 to 17.
How will that impact family in Arizona?
“The data we have 112,000 children will be lifted above the poverty line because of this,” said Children’s Action Alliance President and CEO David Lujan. "Nearly 1.5 million Arizona children overall will stand to benefit just from the child tax credit provision alone.”
Save The Family, an organization in Mesa, helped Gandy rebuild her life during the pandemic, she said. The nonprofit organization helped find a home for the family and taught her how to better manage her finances.
She said the additional money from the tax credit will definitely help.
“It will take a lot off my shoulders because I have a little help to put food on the table and get my bills paid,” she said. “If my children need shoes I have the income to get them some shoes or whatever they need.”
She hopes to complete her GED within the next few months.
The federal money will offer some breathing room and give her a chance to start saving money and be better positioned financially if life takes a turn for the worse.