New York Times

How $1,000 a Month in Guaranteed Income Is Helping N.Y.C. Mothers

Orignally published on 2022-01-18 18:50:02 by www.nytimes.com

The Bridge Project sprang from Nido de Esperanza, a nonprofit that helps low-income mothers in Washington Heights, and was founded by Holly Fogle, the wife of a venture capitalist, Jeff Lieberman. The couple also run the Monarch Foundation.

Early in the pandemic, Ms. Fogle said, Nido’s offices were flooded with desperate calls. “I had moms calling saying, ‘We have no diapers, no cash, no formula for this baby and we’re scared to leave our apartment,’” she recalled.

Nido distributed $150,000 in aid to 100 families, and Ms. Fogle, a onetime finance major, became a believer in what she called the “return on investment” of direct aid.

For Maureen Gardner, 35, the Bridge Project came along when she was six months pregnant, not working and had just learned that the woman she had been subletting her Harlem apartment from apparently had been pocketing her $1,500 rent checks.

“When I called the management office they were like, ‘We don’t know who you are, we don’t know who this lady is,’” Ms. Gardner said. She was told she owed thousands in back rent.

Because she receives food stamps for her and her son, Garrett, who was born in September, and has not been paying rent while her tenancy remains disputed, Ms. Gardner has been able to save nearly $5,000 from her Bridge Project payments.

“When it is time to leave, I’ll have the money to leave,” she said.

She also made a purchase that some would view as a luxury but that Ms. Gardner sees as a way to protect her and Garrett’s health: a $430 washing machine that lets her avoid her building’s laundry room, where many tenants do not wear masks. “My baby doesn’t even have shots,” she said.

Orignally published on 2022-01-18 18:50:02 by www.nytimes.com

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