Brooklyn, NY. Photo Credit: Leonardo March for Go West Now

Overview:

NYC Mayor Adams shares essential resources for Haitian families, including SNAP benefits, tax credits, more affordable childcare and senior housing options.

NEW YORK—New York City is a notoriously expensive place to live, from the cost of housing to childcare to food. Just recently, personal finance company Smart Asset said in a new report that to “live comfortably” in the city, a single adult needed to earn $138,000 annually and a family of four $318,000 per year. However, according to the company’s analysis of 2020 Census Bureau data, the average income in the city of 8.3 million is roughly $107,000. This means the lowest earners are at poverty level and the highest earners easily cross 7-figure incomes.

As families struggle throughout the city, Haitian New Yorkers are among those facing the financial pain of rising rents due to gentrification in places like Flatbush, food prices that eat up larger chunks of pay and inconsistent options for childcare, even with the early-childhood education programs.

In a recent interview with Go West Now, Mayor Eric Adams underscores the importance of utilizing these resources, saying:

“[The] most important thing is those who are helping family members, they need to be aware of what resources are available for them. Because far too often people don't know that there are a lot of things that are available for them, and we want to show them how to apply for them at our resource fairs.”

Here are a few of the valuable resources available to help that Adams discussed.


Expanded SNAP benefits

Eligible city residents, including citizens and other documented individuals, can access Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

“People who are long-term residents, documented [residents] are [eligible] for SNAP benefits. They’re [eligible] for free health care or reduced health care,” Adams said in the interview. “They are [eligible] for reduced-fare Metrocards.”

These benefits include:

  • Free or reduced health care: Ensuring access to essential medical services.
  • Reduced-fare Metrocards: Making transportation more affordable.

Higher tax credits and free tax prep

“We just did an earned income tax credit increase that many people are [eligible for],” Adams said.

The mayor was referring to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) expanded for the first time in 20 years. With the expanded eligibility, nearly 400,000 New York City families may be eligible to reduce their income tax bill or receive higher tax returns.

City officials said in a press release that on average, the two credits combined can be worth up to $11,000. On average, they said, most eligible New Yorkers receive $2,300 in combined benefits.

During tax season, the city reached out to areas with the lowest percentage of tax filers to let them know about this additional financial support.

On a related note, families who earned $85,000 or less and individuals or couples who earned $59,000 or less can have their taxes filed free of charge through NYC Free Tax Prep, www.nyc.gov/TaxPrep.

More affordable childcare

Childcare costs have significantly decreased for low and moderate-income New Yorkers. Adams highlighted this change, stating:

“We decreased the cost of childcare for low-income and moderate-income New Yorkers from $55 a week to less than $5 a week. They need to be aware of it.”

This reduction aims to assist families struggling with childcare expenses, making it much more affordable.

Senior housing initiatives

Recognizing the need for stable housing for older residents, NYC has introduced housing initiatives through local churches.

“We have what we call the ‘City of Yes’ proposal that's going to allow our churches to build using their air rights to build on a footprint and really encourage them [the churches] to do more building,” Adams said. “Many of them wanted to do senior housing. Because, you know, the first large arrival of Haitians started in the 60s, many of them are older now, talking about many years later, and they need a stable, safe environment with senior housing.”

This proposal aims to provide a secure and affordable living environment for senior citizens, leveraging the resources and spaces of local churches.

Rent vouchers lottery coming back

Last, but not least, from June 3 to 9, low–income families will be able to apply and get on the waitlist for rent vouchers to help alleviate the burden of high rents across the city. Officials from the Mayor’s Office and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) made the announcement May 29, saying they expect to issue 1,000 vouchers per month until they run out.

After a 15-year pause, the city is opening the waitlist for housing support through its Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. Officials will choose 200,000 eligible applications at random, then go through the process of determining the amount of the subsidy each applicant may receive.

The application period opens at 12 midnight on Monday, June 3 and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, June 9. The application must include someone in the household who is a U.S. citizen. The city was confirming the rules for households with permanent residents (green card holders) and those with TPS or humanitarian parole status. Stay tuned.

Macollvie J. Neel, a writer and communications consultant, serves as executive editor of Go West Now. Her company Comms Maven LLC helps mission-driven professionals and organizations tell their stories in workplaces and media spaces. Her professional development ebook — Scripts for Success: Workplace Communication Templates to Advance Your Career — is available on Bookboon.

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