Free Money? Chicago, Los Angeles Open Up Guaranteed Income Program For Qualifying Residents

Free Money? Chicago, Los Angeles Open Up Guaranteed Income Program For Qualifying Residents

Qualified residents have been blessed with quick cash without having to do much.

The New York Times reports the City of Chicago implemented the idea of guaranteed income. The experiment provided residents with basic subsistence under the Resilient Communities Pilot program. Created by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the $31.5 million program selected 5,000 qualified city residents in August to receive a guaranteed cash income for a year.

In December, the first round of $500 checks went out to 3,250 residents in Chicago and other Cook County residents with funds from another program, a $42 million county pilot.

With remaining funds coming from the American Rescue Plan, signed into law in 2021, Clayton News Daily reports qualifying Cook County residents depends on residents’ annual income. The cutoff will be 250% of the federal poverty level. Broken down, that is an income of $36,450 for individuals and $75,000 for a family of four. Scientists from the University of Chicago are tracking the program with hopes of expansion as specialists like Jon Morgan, CEO of Venture Smarter, say it can really help shape public policy. “Guaranteed income initiatives, such as the Chicago Resilient Families Initiative, can be crucial in shaping public policy to combat inequality and poverty,” Morgan said.

“Other cities and nations, such as Stockton, California, and Marica, Brazil, as well as Canada and Finland, have put similar systems into place.”

According to Bloomberg, Los Angeles County opened the “Breathe LA” initiative last June, which states county families receive $1,000 monthly. It’s been named one of the largest basic income pilots in the country. Santa Clara County in California has a similar program, as well as Multnomah County in Oregon. The “Multnomah Mothers’ Trust” focuses on Black mothers, offering $500 monthly to 100 Black mothers. An additional $50 is added if they share their experiences.

To date, most qualifying Chicago citizens are either homeless, served in the U.S. military, or are qualified caregivers, as reported by Clayton News Daily.