The FPWA is an anti-poverty policy and advocacy organization serving the New York City social service sector by providing grants to help individuals and families meet their basic needs and advocating for fair public policies on behalf of people in need and the agencies that serve them. The FPWA plays an important role in supporting effective policy regarding social welfare.
The initial goal of this Capstone project was to expand the FPWA’s Federal Funds Tracker by modeling poverty, wages, and spending in New York City as it relates to the discontinued federal funding response to the Great Recession, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the loomig recession, the Capstone team shifted their research to support FPWA's immediate research needs on programs increased by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The team was tasked to compare federal funding response in times of crisis and to develop resources to advocate for sound policy. In particular, the team added context to the current federal funding policy, CARES Act, with comparisons to the ARRA's response to the Great Recession. The program summaries included in the report described the federal response for three social welfare programs - childcare, unemployment benefits, and food security. The research showed that government spending that targets low-income and recently unemployed individuals can have a strong impact on the economy. The team's visualizations of the allocation of stimulus funds across the country demonstrated that the current stimulus package may not be reaching the most in need recipients at an equitable rate.