New York subway
New York subway Creative Commons

A recent survey by the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and Algún Día initiative highlights the challenges faced by immigrant New Yorkers selling candy and in subways and parks.

The study recruited Spanish-speaking volunteers to conduct a three-month outreach, surveying 75 parents with children selling candy across all five boroughs.

The survey found that 75% of respondents were from Ecuador, with 34% being women under the age of 25. Nearly half (42%) cited access to childcare as a major obstacle. Many parents reported sacrificing jobs due to lack of childcare and were unaware of available opportunities. Language barriers due to dialect or written and technological literacy were also cited as reasons for lack of connection to services.

Additionally, 83% of respondents expressed a desire to pursue other work but were hindered by childcare limitations. About 64% lived outside the shelter system, and 88% began vending out of necessity. Fear of fines and police interaction was reported by 60% of respondents.

"Our team walked the subways, listened to heartfelt stories, and confronted the stark reality of needs unmet and potentials untapped," said Monica Sibri, co-founder of Algún Día, to BK Reader.

Among the policy solutions listed by NYIC and Algún Día to handle this situation were:

  • Restore $4M in the Immigrant Family Communication and Outreach Initiative: This investment supports the Office of Language Access and Marketing and Communications at New York City Public Schools to help immigrant families with varying levels of literacy and access to digital media receive important school-related information in their own language, enroll in school, and connect to services.
  • Prioritize access to Summer Rising and after school programs: Parents require care for their children throughout the summer and after the school day ends in order to access full-time work.
  • Pass Intro 47 to Decriminalize Street Vending
  • Invest and Baseline $25M in Promise NYC, a successful child care stipend
    program for children who are ineligible for other forms of child care vouchers due to their immigration status.

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