US Cities Launch Basic Income Trials, Providing $14.9 Million With No Strings Attached
Cities across the United States are embracing the concept of basic income and rapidly initiating pilot programs to assess the effectiveness of providing financial support to individuals with low incomes. These trials are designed to understand the impact of no-strings-attached financial assistance on recipients.
In Ann Arbor, Michigan, applications are currently open for a pilot program that will distribute a total of $1.2 million to a diverse group, including entrepreneurs, self-employed individuals, small business owners, gig workers, and individuals with side hustles. One hundred participants will be randomly selected to receive $528 per month for a duration of two years, starting in 2024. To be eligible, participants must have a yearly income at or below 225% of the federal poverty line. The funding for this initiative comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and was allocated by the Ann Arbor City Council.
Austin, Texas, has allocated $1.3 million to continue an existing basic income pilot program that provides $1,000 per month to people experiencing homelessness or displacement. This program aims to address housing and financial stability challenges faced by vulnerable individuals in the city.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has set aside $449,400 for a one-year basic income program. A group of 51 families currently receiving temporary assistance will receive $500 per month for a year, while an additional 239 families will receive an extra $50 per month. This initiative seeks to alleviate financial stress and improve the well-being of these families.
Santa Clara County, California, has allocated a substantial $12 million to fund four separate basic income trials. Early results from the county’s first pilot, which targeted foster youth in 2020, revealed positive outcomes. Participants experienced improvements in income stability, employment, housing, and credit scores over the course of two years. Additionally, many reported that the program had a generational impact, enabling them to provide better opportunities for their children, such as enrolling them in extracurricular activities and spending more time with them.
These basic income trials reflect a growing interest in exploring new approaches to social support and financial assistance, particularly for individuals facing economic challenges. The outcomes of these initiatives will provide valuable insights into the potential benefits of providing unconditional financial aid to those in need.