Council Approves $2 Million for Guaranteed Income Pilot Program

On Tuesday, the Montgomery County Council unanimously voted to approve an almost $2 million special appropriation for the FY22 Operating Budget to provide initial funding for a Guaranteed Income Pilot Program, according to a county press release.

The program would enroll 300 households and provide them with $800 each month for 24 months. A collaborative planning effort is underway to decide how people will be enrolled in the program.

It may also include individuals with or without families, according to the release. Efforts to address any impact from guaranteed income on other benefits and the evaluation of outcomes for participating households are still being decided.

The purpose of the program is to help alleviate poverty, increase financial stability and give county residents the ability to make their own decisions for improving their economic situation. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, data showed that 40 percent of Americans could not afford to pay for a $400 emergency.

In 2018, an estimated 47 percent of county rent holders were spending over 30 percent of their income on housing. Women and people of color have also had a negative financial impact from the pandemic, according to the release.

The program’s funding was introduced by Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando and Council President Gabe Albornoz.  Council Vice President Evan Glass and Councilmembers Tom Hucker, Craig Rice, Hans Riemer and Nancy Navarro cosponsored the pilot program.

“The Guaranteed Income Pilot Program is a solution to assist families in permanently exiting poverty,” said Albornoz. “It honors a family’s resilience by placing trust in their ability to make their own decisions on what is best for their path forward. The first of its kind in the State of Maryland, this program will help provide economic mobility to our most vulnerable residents and put an end to generational poverty.”

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