By Kevin Deutsch
A new $1 million pilot program funded by the city will help address hunger among impoverished CUNY students in 2020, officials said.
The program will be implemented at CUNY’s seven community colleges, including Bronx Community College and Hostos Community College in the South Bronx, during the fall and spring academic semesters.
A total of 1,250 participating students – including those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status – will receive $400 they can spend on food at campus cafeterias, officials said.
The pilot program’s participants were selected from a pool of low-income students who met basic eligibility criteria and had an average family income of $15,605.
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who announced the program earlier this month, said student hunger is a “serious problem” in the five boroughs.
“CUNY students should be focused on learning and studying, not where their next meal is coming from,” said Johnson. “We are one of the richest cities in the world but too many New Yorkers don’t have equitable access to healthy food.”
Research shows more than 26 percent of Bronx residents experience food insecurity—defined as being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.
That percentage places the borough among the hungriest counties in the country, according to Hunger Free America, a national nonprofit group working to end domestic hunger.
The number includes more than 20 percent of all Bronx children, nearly 17 percent of working adults, and almost 24 percent of seniors, according to federal data analyzed by the group.