NYC $53 million program to make pre-paid credit cards accessible for migrants - Hindustan Times
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NYC $53 million pilot program to make pre-paid credit cards accessible for migrant families

Feb 03, 2024 05:53 PM IST

New York City launched $53 million pilot program to help migrant families buy food at Big Apple hotels.

The new NYC $53 million pilot program is set to hand out pre-paid credit cards to migrants having found abode in the big city's hotels.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 09: Migrants and their families check into a processing center at the Roosevelt Hotel in midtown Manhattan as thousands of migrants continue to arrive into the city weekly on January 09, 2024 in New York City. As winter temperatures and storms begin to arrive into New York City, many migrant families are being forced to re-apply for shelter after they have reached their limit of 60 days in city housing. Over 4,000 families have been given notices on a rolling basis that they will need to depart their current housing and re-apply without any guarantee of receiving a place. Over 100,000 migrants have arrived in New York City over the last year. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)(Getty Images via AFP)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 09: Migrants and their families check into a processing center at the Roosevelt Hotel in midtown Manhattan as thousands of migrants continue to arrive into the city weekly on January 09, 2024 in New York City. As winter temperatures and storms begin to arrive into New York City, many migrant families are being forced to re-apply for shelter after they have reached their limit of 60 days in city housing. Over 4,000 families have been given notices on a rolling basis that they will need to depart their current housing and re-apply without any guarantee of receiving a place. Over 100,000 migrants have arrived in New York City over the last year. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)(Getty Images via AFP)

As per reports by The Post, the NYC pre-paid credit card pilot program is being run by New Jersey company Mobility Capital Finance. Migrant families seeking a stable station at the Roosevelt Hotel will be assisted in buying food using the city cash. Here's how the new launch will help asylum seekers.

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About the NYC $53 million pilot program

City Hall has stated that in its initial stages the program will first begin with 500 migrant families for short-term hotel stays. The current food service at the hotel will be replaced. The pre-paid credit cards to be handed out to the people can only be used at grocery store, supermarkets, convenience stores and bodegas.

On top of that, the migrants would have to sign an affidavit, thus claiming that the funds will only be spent on food and baby supplies. If used otherwise, they will be banished from the program.

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Also termed as the Immediate Response Card initiative, this program is much like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The older scheme had also provided low-income families with food benefits so they could afford essential nutritious food.

The amount on cards provided by Mayor Eric Adams' administration depends on the family's size and whether they have a source of flowing income or not. A family of four would be offered nearly $1000 monthly, resulting in $35 per day for food. Card refill will be facilitated after 28 days.

Similar cards were earlier issued to the city's residents with meagre earnings so that they would be able to pay for holiday dinners.

Once the program turns out to be successful, its reach will be expanded to all migrant families in hotels. Officials have claimed this number roughly amounts to 15,000 at the moment. With this accessibility, families will be able to “purchase fresh food for their culturally relevant diets and the baby supplies of their choosing, but the pilot program is expected to save New York City more than $600,000 per month, or more than $7.2 million annually," spokesperson Kayla Mamelak confirmed.

This new program seeks to rectify the prevailing problem that's troubled asylum seekers for a long time. The latest development comes a month after the controversial brand DocGo (provider of mobile medical services and transportation) was found wasting thousands of dollars on untouched meals. In response to that, migrants revealed how bad these meals were.

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