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Newark Guaranteed Income Program Launches

Newark Guaranteed Income Program Launches

Monday, May 10, 2021

"The most populous city in New Jersey has launched a pilot program to give guaranteed income to some residents, as the pandemic has exacerbated the racial wealth gap and exposed the economic vulnerabilities millions of Americans face.

Experts say success in Newark, New Jersey, a neighbor of New York City, could set a precedent for other communities around the country to follow suit as the nation seeks to equitably recover from the economic devastation wrought by COVID-19.

“We must emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with new purpose, new vision and new ideas to transform our community and truly improve the quality of life of our residents,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, a Democrat, said in a statement earlier this week. “Here, we have an opportunity to directly empower and strengthen hundreds of lives immediately, while also demonstrating how to do so to the entire nation.”

The Newark Movement for Economic Equity, launched by Baraka on Monday, is a two-year research study that will give unconditional cash payments to economically vulnerable residents. The pilot program is starting with just 30 residents, but is set to expand to 400 residents in the fall. To qualify, participants must be Newark residents who are at least 18 and have income levels at or below 200% of the federal poverty threshold.

To start, participants will receive $6,000 per year — with half receiving payments on a bi-weekly basis and half receiving payments twice yearly.

Some $2.2 million to date in private funds from local philanthropic groups and beyond have been raised to support the pilot program, and a statement from the mayor’s office said they are continuing to seek donors for the initiative.

If it is successful, the group has said on its website it anticipates it will be funded through state or federal money."

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