ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A recently launched program out of New York City is planning their state expansion, starting in Rochester.
The Monarch Foundation, a private family-funded foundation, launched ‘The Bridge Project’ in 2022. They are looking to solve childhood poverty in New York through a cash allowance.
“I mean, child poverty is bad,” co-founder and executive director of ‘The Bridge Project,’ Megha Agarwal said. “It’s bad anywhere that there is child poverty. I think that’s the reality of it.”
Agarwal said that the project is already launched in all five boroughs of NYC, but wanted to start an expansion into the entirety of New York State, with Rochester at the start-line.
“What really drew us to Rochester was, of course, there’s this great need, but there’s also this deep infrastructure of support,” Agarwal said.
She adds that NYC has a three-part requirement template in order for mothers to qualify for the program. Mothers must be pregnant when they apply, and they must meet a certain annual household income, and be within the geographic eligibility.
For Rochester, Agarwal says that some details are still being worked out, but two things will remain the same: mothers must be pregnant when they apply, and they must meet a certain annual household income.
The program determines the cash allowance amount on the cost of living for the area. For NYC, mothers who are eligible will receive $1,000 for 18 months and $500 for another 18 months after that. Eligible Rochester mothers will receive a different amount.
“For Rochester, we are adjusting it for the cost of living,” Agarwal said. “So what that looks like is $750 instead of the $1,000 for the first 18 months, and then it scaled down for the latter 18 months to $325.”
The City of Rochester is planning a similar program, called a Guaranteed Basic Income program. The city said in a statement that their program has not launched yet, but they are planning to do so very soon.
The City said their GBI program will offer $500 to about 350 individuals for 12 months with no strings attached. Although the two programs are similar to each other, they accept and welcome the additional support coming to Rochester.
“I think one thing that’s become very clear is that the target populations for both of these programs is very different,” Agarwal said. “Hopefully, what we’re able to do is just spread more support to more people living in Rochester, rather than stepping on each other’s toes.”
‘The Bridge Project” says they are hoping to have applications available for Rochester mothers in late summer, adding that the goal is to have funds coming through the door starting in September. To learn more information and updates about ‘The Bridge Project,’ visit here.