ALBANY (WENY) – Monday, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation that would allow certain, vulnerable populations to use their SNAP benefits to purchase prepared foods from restaurants.
Under the legislation, the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance will apply for USDA approval to authorize the Restaurant Meals Program. The program allows homeless, elderly and disabled SNAP recipients to use their benefits for prepared or hot food from participating restaurants.
Before this legislation, SNAP recipients in New York could not use benefits to purchase prepared goods. Governor Hochul argues this prevents many populations that don’t have access to cooking or food preparation – such as the elderly, disabled and homeless – from using their SNAP benefits.
Governor Hochul also launched the $25 million Restaurant Resilience Program to provide additional COVID relief to the state’s restaurant industry. The program will provide funding to the state’s network of food banks and emergency food providers to purchase prepared meals from state 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,” Governor 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 all actions to help them support themselves and their loved ones.”