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United Way report: Cost of living has skyrocketed in New York City

United Way of New York City says the annual cost of basic needs for a family of four ranges from $107,000 in the Bronx to $152,000 in southern Manhattan. 

Ashley Mastronardi

Apr 3, 2024, 2:48 PM

Updated 20 days ago

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New York City has long been one of the most expensive cities in the world. But since the pandemic, New Yorkers say prices have been jaw-dropping.
“I used to get olive oil for $9.99, now it’s $19.99. And if it’s not on sale, it’s $34,” Brooklyn resident Chere Mapson told News 12 New York. 
But it’s not only food that’s affected.  According to a new report, the cost of living in New York City has skyrocketed.  United Way of New York City says the annual cost of basic needs for a family of four ranges from $107,000 in the Bronx to $152,000 in southern Manhattan.  The report found that 50% of working-age New Yorkers are struggling to meet their basic needs. 
“It’s getting difficult for a normal, average person, and the reason I think many of my friends have moved to other places such as Florida and Texas,” New Yorker Yatharth Wadhwa said. 
United Way defines basic needs such as food, child care, health care, transportation and shelter, among other things.  “We’ve seen the increase in the need for food pantry assistance or emergency food assistance, we’ve seen an inability to pay for other things such as child care, so we were looking at OK, how deep does the problem run and what really can we do to help the city-, state- and federal-based agencies to do something about it. And that’s how we came to our policy recommendations,” said Eichakeem McClary, executive vice president of United Way of New York City. Those policy recommendations are meant to increase income and lower expenses.  At the city level, United Way is proposing:  
  • Enhancing SNAP access, funding the "Groceries to Go" program and investing in school food programs.  
  • Advocating for an annual cost-of-living-adjustment, wage increases and career advancement opportunities for human service workers.  
  • Supporting initiatives to enhance housing affordability.  
They say they’re calling on local elected officials to act on these policy recommendations.  They’re also partnering with hundreds of community-based organizations to get critical services to families. 


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