A two-year pilot program providing low-income Newark, New Jersey, residents with guaranteed income through cash payments kicked off Monday for the first 30 people.
Beginning this week, thirty Newark residents will begin receiving $6,000 per year in guaranteed payments. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka was more than happy to announce residents will begin receiving cash payments with no strings attached and no work requirements.
“Today I’m proud to announce that Newark has taken a historic step towards economic justice by launching The Newark Movement for Economic Equity, Newark’s guaranteed pilot program aimed at giving recurring cash payments to Newark residents,” Mayor Ras Baraka said Monday according to NBC New York.
Guaranteed income is a catching trend across the country. Pilot programs have been proposed and launched in Stockton, Oakland, and Compton, California, Newark, and Atlanta to help lift city residents out of poverty. Many of these programs are giving cash to low-income residents to supplement their incomes.
Newark’s program focuses on residents that are housing insecure and will soon expand to help 400 residents. The program is currently funded by private donors such as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey who pledged to fund guaranteed income programs in 15 U.S. cities.
The payments will also vary as some residents will receive a small amount each month and others will receive two yearly payments of $3,000. The Newark Movement for Economic Equity will track what residents will spend the funds on.
According to data from Stockton’s program, participants were able to pay down debts, cover unexpected expenses, and their mental health improved. Additionally, the program debunked the GOP myth that people receiving free money will not work.
One of the main findings in the program was that people receiving the money were able to create new opportunities for themselves including goal-setting and finding employment.
Newark residents can begin applying for the program in July, which will be open to residents 18 and over whose income levels are at or below 200% of the federal poverty threshold.