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COLORLINES: Without Electricity, New Yorkers on Food Stamps Can’t Pay for Food

It’s been more than three days since power went out in many parts of New York City, including the Lower East Side where multi-story public housing complexes like the La Guardia Houses don’t have electricity, heat or water.

Many of the residents are also without food.

Many of the low-income residents receive cash and supplemental nutritional assistance from the state electronically through what the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance calls Electronic Benefit Cards (EBT.)

Recipients buying eligible foods are suppose to swipe their EBT cards like any other credit card for their purchases but since Hurricane Sandy hit, most Lower East Side stores don’t have electricity to run credit card transactions and are only accepting cash. Leaving many people on EBT with empty wallets, empty refrigerators and no access to food.

“The supermarkets don’t even really want to sell anything. They’re open but if you don’t have cash, you messed up. And everybody in these projects, they take EBT…food stamps,” a La Guardia Houses resident told WNYC’s Marianne McCune.

Listen to Marianne McCune from the La Guardia Houses below and visit WNYC.org to read her story.

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