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Baltimore's Guaranteed Income Pilot Program To Provide Young Parents Monthly Payments

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott on Wednesday announced the Baltimore Young Families Success Fund, the city's guaranteed income pilot program.

The fund will provide 200 parents between 18- and 24-years-old with an unconditional cash payment of $1,000 per month over two years to provide financial stability, Scott's office said.

The mayor has allocated $4.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to be directly distributed to recipients.

"Our Guaranteed Income pilot program will help combat the economic fallout from COVID-19 and assist young parents hit the hardest by the pandemic," Scott said in an announcement. "This is, fundamentally, about putting our families in a position to succeed. Guaranteed Income programs are proven to improve recipients' quality of life significantly."

Applications for the program will open Monday, May 2, and close on Monday, May 9.

The mayor's office said those eligible for the program must:

  • Be residents of Baltimore City,
  • Between the ages of 18 -24 years old at the time of the application deadline,
  • Be either the biological or adoptive parents, or guardians, must have full or partial care-taking responsibilities and
  • Have income at or below 300% of the federal poverty level based on their household size.

Once the application closes, eligible applicants will be placed into a randomized lottery to select 200 participants.

"A program like this gives people an opportunity to get a leg up. Instead of being in a disinvested community, they're actually being invested in as people," said Robin McKinney, Co-Founder and CEO of CASH Campaign of Maryland, which is collaborating with the city to administer the program.

Mayor Scott said in his State of the City address the CASH Campaign, a nonprofit, brings "a wealth of experience in benefits counseling and wrap-around services."

The applicants will be placed into groups. Over half of the guaranteed income recipients, 130 of them, will be selected for a research study, including both quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews.

The rest of the recipients, 70 of them, will be selected for a storytelling cohort to share their experiences with guaranteed income, the mayor's office said.

Another 156 residents who applied for the program will not recieve payments but will be selected as a control group for the research study. This group will be eligible for incentives for participation in the research activities, the mayor's office said.

Abt Associates, a Maryland-based business management consultant, will conduct an evaluation of the project using qualitative research funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic organization.

The study will be conducted by a joint team from the Center for Guaranteed Income Research and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Data analyzed will include the program recipients' mental health, spending, income volatility, employment, family dynamics and household food security, among other variables during the program.

Additionally, the mayor's office said the pilot project will evaluate parental engagement and childcare usage, aim to increase parental time with children, and better understand how additional resources impact a family's decisions about the quality and quantity of childcare.

"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 of opportunity," Scott said. 

The mayor announced the guaranteed income initiative in February 2021, joining a group of mayors across the country to create the program.

The group, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, advocates for cities to implement direct, recurring cash payments to citizens in a bid to create momentum for a federal guaranteed income program.

For more information on the mayor-led guaranteed income movement, visit the organization's website.

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