NEW YORK — Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation on Monday that aims to allow homeless, disabled and elderly people who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to use those benefits to buy meals from restaurants.
The new legislation requires the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to apply for USDA approval of the program. Approval of the plan would allow for qualifying SNAP recipients to purchase prepared food from participating restaurants at a reduced price.
Not being allowed to purchase ready made food was a roadblock for homeless, disabled and elderly populations trying to use SNAP benefits.
Hochul also announced the launch of a $25 million program that builds off the Nourish New York imitative that allows for food banks and emergency food providers to purchase prepared meals from New York restaurants and deliver them to families in need.
"It's unconscionable that in a state as prosperous as New York, many residents still struggle to get enough food to feed their families," Hochul said.
"The vital actions we're taking—establishing two restaurant programs to help the most vulnerable New Yorkers feed themselves and help restaurants recover from this terrible pandemic—will work in tandem to put food on the table in homes across the state. This pandemic continues to impact the wallets and homes of a vast number of New Yorkers, and we're taking any and all actions to help them support themselves and their loved ones."
FeedMore WNY received $2 million in funding from the Restaurant Resiliency Program.
"The actions Governor Hochul are taking today make it clear to families and restaurants recovering from COVID that New York State is here for them. Expanding SNAP benefit eligibility to prepared or hot foods at participating restaurants will help feed New York families in need while providing a needed boost to struggling local businesses," Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin said.
"Along with the $25 million Restaurant Resiliency program being launched, which I advocated for in the Senate, this will go a long way to furthering our recovery toward a more equitable New York."