BALTIMORE — Baltimore City will pilot a "guaranteed income" program, which will pay 200 young, very low-income parents $1,000 a month for two years. The city will use $4.8 million in COVID-related funding for the project.
Mayor Brandon Scott announced the pilot program, joining several other cities nationwide in offering a "guaranteed income."
"This is about giving them $1,000 unconditionally for 2 years to support their families. We know that these programs have been successful in places across the country," said Scott.
The City received 4,019 applicants.
The idea of "guaranteed income" was founded in June 2020 by Michael Tubbs, former mayor of Stockton, Calif. Multiple cities have tried it since, and more than 60 mayors are part of a coalition that's pushing for a federal guaranteed income.
Unlike Baltimore's proposal, however, the Stockton program was funded by about $3 million in private donations - not public money.
The goal of the program, Scott said in a statement, is to "help combat the economic fallout from COVID-19 and assist young parents hit the hardest by the pandemic."
Danielle Torain, director of the Open Society Institute - Baltimore, which helped design the program, added:
“Baltimore’s predominantly Black and Latino working-class communities —already suffering from decades of institutional disinvestment — were among the hardest hit by the COVID pandemic and its economic fallout.”
The program will give 200 parents, ages 18 to 24 years old, an unconditional cash payment of $1,000 per month, over the course of two years, "to provide financial stability and reduce poverty," according to a press release from the mayor's office.
Eligible applicants must live in Baltimore City, be 18-24 years old, be either biological or adoptive parents or guardians, must have full or partial care-taking responsibilities and have income at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level based on their household size. Eligible applicants will be put into a random lottery to choose 200 participants.
Household income for a family of two must be at or below $54,930.
A family of three at or below $69,000 and a family of four below $81,000 annually.
"These folks aren't just blowing this money. They're using it on essential childcare, food, transportation, things that they need to thrive as a family," said Mayor Scott.
Some of the applicants will be chosen for research studies and interviews, and storytelling cohorts to share their experiences about the program.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Abt Associates, and the Center for Guaranteed Income Research will analyze the effect of the project.
The Mayor's Office of Children and Family Success is partnering with the non-profit CASH Campaign to administer the program.
Faith Leach, Baltimore's Deputy Mayor of Equity, Health and Human Services is hopeful the funds, more than anything, empower children.
"Young families will more than likely have young children so not only can we intervene at a really important time in a young person's life when their in that 18 to 24 year old age but we're also going to likely get parents who have young children between the ages of 0-5," Leach told WMAR 2 News.
"You also have the ability for parents and young parents in particular now to spend more time with their children. They no longer have to make some of these hard decisions about whether they need to get a second or third job to make ends meet because now they have a guaranteed income," she continued.
Applications opened at 6 a.m. Monday, May 2, and closed at 11:59 p.m. Monday, May 9.
The city is taking the next month to review applicants and those eligible will be entered into a lottery style drawing.
In June, they'll announce the recipients of the grants.