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 the ages of 18 and 24 with an unconditional cash payment of $1,000 per month over two years to provide financial stability, Scott’s office said.
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The mayor has allocated $4.8 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to distribute directly to beneficiaries.
“Our guaranteed income pilot program will help address the economic fallout from COVID-19 and help young parents hit hardest by the pandemic,” Scott said in an announcement. “It’s fundamentally about putting our families in a position to succeed. Guaranteed income programs have been proven to significantly improve the quality of life of recipients.
Applications for the program will open on Monday, May 2 and close on Monday, May 9.
The mayor’s office said those eligible for the program must:
- Be residents of the City of Baltimore,
- Between 18 and 24 years old at the time of the application deadline,
- Be either the biological or adoptive parents, or guardians, must have full or partial custodial responsibilities and
- Have an income at or below 300% of the federal poverty level based on their household size.
Once the application is closed, eligible applicants will be placed in a random lottery to select 200 entrants.
“A program like this gives people the opportunity to get a head start. Instead of being in a disinvested community, they’re actually invested as people,” said Robin McKinney, co-founder and CEO of CASH Campaign of Maryland, which works with the city to administer the program.
Mayor Scott said in his State of the City address that the CASH Campaign, a non-profit organization, brings “a wealth of experience in providing advice on benefits and comprehensive services.”
Candidates will be divided into groups. More than half of guaranteed income recipients, 130 of them, will be selected for a research study that includes both quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews.
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The rest of the recipients, 70 of them, will be selected for a cohort of storytellers to share their experiences with guaranteed income, the mayor’s office said.
Another 156 residents who applied for the program will not receive payments but will be selected as a control group for the research study. This group will be eligible for incentives to participate in 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 by 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 the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Data analyzed will include the mental health of program beneficiaries, expenditures, 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 assess parent engagement and child care utilization, aim to increase parenting time with children, and better understand how additional resources affect family decisions about the quality and quantity of child care.
“We put money directly into the hands of our residents because they know better than anyone what their families need to move up the ranks,” Scott said.
The mayor announced the guaranteed income initiative in February 2021, joining a group of mayors from across the country to create the program.
The group, Mayors for Guaranteed Income, advocates for cities to implement direct, recurring cash payments to citizens in an effort to build momentum for a federal guaranteed income program.
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For more information on the mayor-led guaranteed income movement, visit the organization’s website.