Immigrants will be able to buy food with pre-paid credit cards that will be given out by New York City.
This project builds on the city’s work with Mobility Capital Finance in New Jersey, which gave similar cards to poor city housing residents during the holidays. Sources told the New York Post that the cards will now be sent to about 500 families staying at the Roosevelt Hotel. The amount given to each family every 28 days will depend on how many people live in it. A family of four will get $1,000. The city will have to pay $53 million for the program.
Migrants will have to sign affidavits saying they will only use the money for food and baby items. If they don’t, they could lose the right to get the cards. The cards can only be used at bodegas, convenience shops, and grocery stores.
“We’re excited to work with New York City to give money to asylum seekers so they can buy hot, fresh food,” said Wole Coaxum, CEO and founder of MoCaFi. “MoCaFi’s goal is to help the local economy while giving people who can’t use banks, like asylum seekers, more access to financial resources.”
In the past, migrants have moaned about how the city feeds them in hotels for $11 a meal, even though the food isn’t like what they’re used to. Kayla Mamelak, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Adams, said that the program would give the migrants more choices.
“This will allow families to buy fresh food that fits their cultural needs and the baby supplies they choose,” Mamelak said. “The pilot program is also expected to save New York City more than $600,000 per month, or more than $7.2 million per year.”
Adams said that since last year, more than 157,000 refugees have come to New York City. That number of people is 1.5 times the size of Albany, New York.
The most current press release from Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R-TX) office says that since August 2022, Texas has sent over 37,600 immigrants to New York City. People have also moved to Los Angeles, Denver, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., thanks to this attempt.