New York City is set to introduce a program offering prepaid cards to migrants for food and supplies, marking the latest initiative to address the migrant crisis.
Mayor Eric Adams is launching a pilot program that would give 500 migrant families with children, and who are currently residing in hotels leased by the city to accommodate asylum-seekers, prepaid debit cards to buy food and baby supplies.
The pilot program will cost the city $53 million, but the mayor's office claims it would save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars per month.
According to the mayor's strategy, the program, which is run by the New Jersey company Mobility Capital Finance, aims to substitute the existing practice of providing migrants in shelters with non-perishable food boxes.
Instead, the plan proposes issuing prepaid debit cards to enable individuals to purchase food and essential supplies.
The amount allocated to each prepaid debit card would be contingent on the family's size and any existing income they might have. For instance, a family of four could receive a monthly allowance of up to $1,000.
The cards would only be good for shopping at local stores like bodegas, grocery stores, supermarkets, and convenience stores in the city. According to the mayor's office, this plan could help New York City save over $600,000 each month, totaling more than $7.2 million annually.
If the pilot program works well, the city may think about extending the program to include more families staying in city hotels.
Over 157,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City since 2022, and there are over 67,000 migrants who are still under the city's care, with hundreds more arriving daily.
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