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New York Working On How to Make Cash-Assistance Programs Beneficial

Cash-assistance Programs

A growing number of cash-assistance and guaranteed-income programs being tested nationwide (Photo:

Eudora Tucker had long wished to run her fashion business, but everyday expenses always got in the way.

Thanks to cash-assistance programs that put an extra $200 in her pocket each month, she can now pay her bills while designing her sustainable clothing line.

The Child Center of NY, a Queens-based nonprofit, administers the cash-assistance programs, which enrolls low-income New Yorkers who agree to meet with a cohort of other participants every month. It was founded last spring with a $1.5 million grant from the Phyllis Backer Foundation and a $450,000 grant from the William J. and the Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation.

It’s just one of a growing number of cash-assistance and guaranteed-income programs being tested nationwide, with funding from private and public sources, including tax credits. According to the Economic Security Project, 38,000 people are enrolled in 100 pilot programs.

READ ALSO: $500 California Guaranteed Income Program Begins; Are You Qualified?

The Impact of Cash

According to Amy Castro, co-founder of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Guaranteed Income Research, the guiding principle behind cash-assistance and guaranteed income programs are that individuals know what’s best for themselves and what kind of assistance they require most.

Critics argue that providing people with cash without strings encourages waste and dependency, especially when the assistance ends after a few years.

A Program That Will ‘Change Your Life

When the Child Center launched its cash-assistance program last year, two guaranteed income programs in New York City had already begun. The Bridge Project, beginning in July 2021, will provide low-income mothers with monthly cash infusions of $500 or $1,000 for 36 months. Another program, Creatives Rebuild NYC, gives $1,000 to city-based artists every month for 18 months.

Both programs claim that the money they give participants has “no strings attached,” which means that there are no mandatory meetings, training, or enrollment in other programs required for participants to receive their monthly installments.

READ ALSO: $500 Monthly Cash Assistance Pilot Program Will Be Sent to a Group of Americans in Minnesota

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