Baltimore City began processing payments for its guaranteed income pilot that gives 200 young families $1,000 per month in unrestricted income for 24 months.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott announced the Baltimore Young Families Success Fund (BYFSF) completed its onboarding process, identified recipients and began processing payments on Aug. 15.
“The Baltimore Young Families Success Fund puts money directly in the hands of our residents because they know what their families need to ascend the ladder of opportunity,” Scott said in a statement. “Guaranteed income programs are proven time and time again to enhance recipients’ wellbeing, and I am excited to see the impact that these dollars will have in the lives of young families in need throughout Baltimore over the next 24 months.”
Applications for the program opened and closed in May. According to city officials, over 4,000 residents applied.
To be eligible for the guaranteed income pilot, one had to be a resident of Baltimore City; be between the ages of 18 -24 years old at the time of the application deadline; be either biological or adoptive parents or guardians of children; have full or partial care-taking responsibilities; and have an income at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level based on household size.
Of the 200 families chosen to take part in the program, 70 will be a part of a storytelling cohort so they can share their experiences as a participant. The city will also collect data from participants.
Scott has allocated $4.8 million to fund the program from the American Rescue Plan Act. Also known as universal basic income, the guaranteed income program aims to help families overcome poverty.
“This is fundamentally about putting our families in a position to succeed,” Scott said. “We are putting money directly in the hands of our residents because they know more than anyone else what their families need to ascend the ladder opportunity; something that has been denied to them for far too long.”
Robin McKinney is the co-founder and CEO of the CASH (Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope) Campaign of Maryland. The non-profit serves as the administrator of Baltimore City’s guaranteed income pilot program.
She said recipients should note receiving the $1,000 monthly stipend could impact other benefits they currently receive.
“It’s important for people to understand that if they’re receiving public benefits like food stamps, like temporary cash assistance, to understand what the impact is and typically getting additional income does impact these programs,” McKinney said.
She said CASH would offer benefits counseling to program participants to help them understand how the additional income will affect their situation.
McKinney also echoed Scott’s sentiment, noting she is looking forward to seeing the program’s outcomes.
“As an organization that seeks to promote economic advancement for low-moderate income families in Baltimore and across the state, the CASH Campaign of Maryland is excited to see the impact this pilot will have on lifting young Baltimore families out of poverty,” McKinney said.