Shreveport City Council supports privately funded guaranteed income pilot program

SHREVEPORT, Louisiana (KTAL / KMSS) – Shreveport City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution supporting a privately funded guaranteed income pilot program to provide direct cash payments of at least $ 600 per month for a year to over 100 city households from December.

The money is unconditional. There is no work requirement and no restriction on how the money can be spent.

The resolution presented by Mayor Adrian Perkins authorizes the city to enter into an agreement with the Mayors for a guaranteed income (MGI) and United Way of Northwest Louisiana in partnership with the Shreveport Financial Empowerment Center (SFEC) to fund and administer the program.

Perkins is a founding member of MGI, a growing network of mayors advocating for a guaranteed income to ensure that all Americans have a minimum income.

“Economic insecurity is not a new challenge or a partisan issue”, according to the organization’s site. “Wealth and income inequalities, which have plagued our country for a long time, continue to grow. Even before the pandemic, people who held two and three jobs still could not afford basic necessities. COVID-19 has only further exposed the economic fragility of most American households and has had a disproportionate impact on blacks and browns. “

The organization was founded in June 2020 and has already launched guaranteed income pilot programs in more than two dozen other cities in 18 states, including New Orleans.

According to MGI, the funds are part of a $ 15 million grant from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey through his #startsmall initiative, building on Dorsey’s initial $ 3 million donation in July 2020.

As part of the deal approved Tuesday, MGI will provide $ 500,000 to the Town of Shreveport to help kickstart the program and “create opportunities to elevate the Town of Shreveport as a Federal Guaranteed Income Champion.”

The Town of Shreveport will provide $ 450,000 in matching seed funds raised through its community partners “from other sources outside of town and will seek to solicit additional dollars as required by law from other sources. funding on an ongoing basis ”.

A total of $ 897,600 will be distributed during the 12-month pilot program to 110 randomly selected participants who meet income and other requirements.

The mayor’s office will lead the program, joining more than two dozen other cities in 18 states with pilot programs launched by MGI, including New Orleans.

The Shreveport Guaranteed Income Pilot Plan includes research on how the unconditional cash injection affects the income stability, employment, financial stability, and mental and physical health of participating families. Researchers will also monitor and assess changes in behavior, school attendance and academic performance of school-aged children.

If all parties sign the MoU as scheduled on October 15, Perkins plans to launch the program and begin accepting applications on October 18, with payments starting December 20.

According to the mayor’s plan, all participants’ incomes will reach up to 120% of the poverty rate as determined by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guidelines, which range from income from $ 17,420 for a family of two to $ 44,660 for a family of eight as of March 1, 2021.

Only single parents with school-aged children will be eligible, with parents defined as a mother, father, step-parent, grandparent, guardian or legal guardian.

Entrants will be selected from within the city of Shreveport with 50 percent of entrants coming from the five poorest zip codes in Shreveport.

All participants will be offered Shreveport Financial Empowerment Services (SFEC), but they will not be required to participate in the program. The SFEC will provide advice on benefits and services. Those who are not banked will receive bank cards.

The resolution also urges President Biden, President Pelosi and Chief Schumer to develop a permanent guaranteed federal income that provides a minimum income for all Americans.

The board approved the resolution by a four-to-three vote, with board members Jerry Bowman (Dist. G), LeVette Fuller (Dist. B), James Green (Dist. F) and Tabatha Taylor (Dist. A) voting promote it. Grayson Boucher (Dist. D), James Flurry (Dist. E) and John Nickleson (Dist. C) voted against the resolution.

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