CAMBRIDGE, MASS. (WHDH) - Some families in Cambridge are set to get a financial boost in the form of $500 monthly payments coming from pandemic relief funds, officials announced. 

Officials announced the payments as part of the city’s Rise Up Cambridge initiative this week, planning to give money to some low-income families in need of help. 

Speaking with 7NEWS, Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui said the program is “the only cash-assistance program of its kind in the country that will serve every single eligible family that submits an application.” 

The program will draw on $22 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, building on a previous pilot program that was funded entirely by philanthropic efforts.

In total, officials estimate more than 2,000 families in Cambridge could benefit. 

Families must have children age 21 or younger and must earn at or below 250% of the federal poverty level to qualify for payments. 

Eligible families will receive the $500 payments each month for 18 months. 

“For me, it’s really important for us to say to our families ‘We see you. We recognize you need help,’” Siddiqui said. “There’s been a pandemic, there’s record inflation, things are so expensive.”

7NEWS spoke with some people in Cambridge, most of whom appeared to be on board with the plan, though they have some hesitations.

Siddiqui responded to anyone who is skeptical.

“I really don’t think it’s a bailout,” she said. “I think, when we hear from families who used this money in our first pilot, they said it’s a lifeline to improve their financial situation, food security, family engagement and future outlook.”

Applications for payments through Rise Up Cambridge will open on June 1. 

Learn more here

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