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NYC spending $53M on migrant prepaid debit cards with 1 in 4 kids living in poverty

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As New York City Mayor Eric Adams sets to dish out $53 million in pre-paid credit cards to illegal migrants, a startling new study has revealed that more of the city’s residents are becoming poorer, with one in four children now living in poverty.

Nearly two million, or 23% percent, of the city’s residents were unable to afford basic necessities like housing and food in 2022, according to a new study by Columbia University and Robin Hood, a large philanthropic organization. 

That was a jump of nearly 500,000 residents compared to 2021 with the child poverty rate also increasing from 15% to 25%, according to the study. That means around 420,000 New York City kids were living in poverty in 2022.

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The report calculated the national poverty rate at 12%, with the New York City poverty rate nearly double that figure. 

“Pandemic-era policies stabilized life for many, but as benefits expired, hardship and poverty became more widespread,” the report states. “These policy shifts, coupled with soaring rent prices, historically elevated levels of inflation, and the rising costs of basic needs made it nearly impossible to make ends meet, much less withstand the financial shocks brought on in this economic climate.”

Asian, Black and Latino New Yorkers were found to be much more likely to live in poverty than White New Yorkers. About 24% of Asians in the city are living in poverty, compared to 23% of Blacks, 26% of Latinos and 13% of whites.

The startling figures have come to light as the city continues to pour billions of taxpayer dollars into catering to the influx of illegal migrants who have arrived in need of food, housing, clothing and health care.

New York City has provided for more than 178,600 migrants since the spring of 2022 with approximately 65,000 still in the city’s care, according to the mayor’s office. The city has also enrolled “tens of thousands” of school-aged children in public schools, while taxpayers have also footed bills for migrants to submit more than 35,000 work authorization, temporary protected status and asylum applications.

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Adams has said the crisis will cost the city at least $10 billion and Governor Hochul recently revealed the state will pitch in another $500 million to help the migrants.

Adams recently announced a controversial $53 million pilot program to hand out prepaid credit cards to migrant families housed in hotels. Around 500 migrant families at the Roosevelt Hotel are set to receive the cards to help them buy food, with the program aimed at replacing the current food service provided there.

If successful, it could be expanded to 6,500 migrant families, according to The New York Post, which was the first to report the initiative.

The Post revealed on Tuesday that a family of four migrants with two children under age 17 could get $15,200 a year under the program. 

A family of three could receive $932 per month, while a family of four could net a $1,195 allowance per month to use at bodegas, grocery stores, supermarkets and convenience stores, according to a breakdown provided to the Post by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

The monthly amounts increase for those who have children: $100 a month for those with kids under 5 and $36 for those with children aged 5 to 17 years. A pregnant migrant can also receive an additional $36 per month on the pre-paid cards, per the city’s cost chart, according to the Post.

New York City signed a multimillion-dollar contract with New Jersey banking company Mobility Capital Finance to dish out the taxpayer funds, and it will also cover fees and other expenses for the bank – known as MoCaFi.

Adams has argued that the program will help save the city money – $600,000 a month or $7.2 million a year. He also has said despite the hefty sums being allocated to the migrants, the city is cutting back on its allotment to the crisis.

Adams told Fox 5 on Tuesday that his administration would slash an additional 10% in migrant spending on top of the 20% reduction announced in the preliminary budget. He said the cuts would help the city ease back on its hiring freeze.

Nearly 7.3 million migrants have illegally crossed the southwest border under President Biden’s watch, a number greater than the population of 36 individual states, a Fox News analysis has found.

The Columbia University and Robin Hood study used a metric called the supplemental poverty measure (SPM), which takes into account both income and noncash support like government programs such as food stamps. In 2022, the SPM threshold for a two-adult, two-child family of renters in New York City was $43,890, according to the report. 

The Census Bureau only counts cash resources in its official poverty measure and in 2022 it recorded New York City’s poverty rate at 17.2% compared to a national average of 11.5%.

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