Money, Basic Income Program, Black Women

Georgia Finds Success In Basic Income Program For Black Women

Georgia's success in its Universal Basic Income program for Black women is contributing to a national push for its expansion.

Georgia’s installment of a universal basic income (UBI) program has found success among its Black women participants. Its favorable outcome could lead to an expansion of similar programs nationwide.

The In Your Hands initiative started through the Georgia Resilience and Opportunity (GRO) fund. The nonprofit selected 654 women in a lottery system to receive an average of $850 a month to help with everyday expenses, as reported by Daily Kos. The women will collect the monthly allotments for two years, with the GRO fund partnering with another nonprofit, Give Directly in New York, for the operation.

Most of the women with In Your Hands have children, all earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level. The additional money was significantly used toward their children’s needs, such as childcare and groceries. However, the participants were also 60% more likely to enroll in higher education programs. The realities of this program further dismantle the “welfare queen” trope historically associated with Black women who use public assistance.

Data collected from the participants showed that many spend the additional funds to lessen the stress of living expenses in Georgia. The findings detailed that 45% allocated the money toward bills, while nearly a third were able to pay off debt. Almost 30% used the extra cash to create a “rainy day” fund for any unexpected emergency.

The results hope to prove the value of implementing guaranteed UBIs for Americans. Currently, private sources fund the Georgia-based In Your Hands and other initiatives in cities like Washington, D.C. However, their findings seek to encourage lawmakers in enacting federally-supported programs across the country.

“The vast majority of people [receiving guaranteed income] don’t leave their jobs, and they use the money either to pursue their goals or to supply staples on the table,” explained social policy professor Stephen Roll at Washington University in St. Louis.

UBIs continue to aid communities of color while defying conservative beliefs that it prompts people to abuse the funds. Its next step, beyond cities’ implementing UBI in their budgets, would be for these programs to build wealth for individuals.

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