Gainesville guaranteed income pilot program in the works

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 6:33 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - If you’re struggling to make ends meet, a new program in Gainesville could soon provide relief.

Mayor Lauren Poe is working with a local non-profit to bring a guaranteed income pilot program to the city.

They’re currently still in the planning stages so there are not too many specific details about the program yet, but the aim for the program is to provide long-term financial assistance instead of a one-time direct payment.

Community Spring is the local nonprofit teaming up with Mayor Poe. They’ve already provided one-time direct assistance to more than 120 families during the pandemic and now they’re focused on bringing extended support to those in need.

“So they’d be getting some sort of payment ... let’s say once a month for 12 months ... and [we] will evaluate how that has impacted their lives. Part of working with Mayors for a Guaranteed Income -- and part of what makes that really exciting-- is the ability to hopefully evaluate it in a much more rigorous way.”

Mayor’s for a Guaranteed Income is a group that Gainesville Mayor Poe is a part of-- consisting of mayors across the country who push for monthly cash payments directly given to people, with no strings attached or work requirements.

Poe says they’ll be applying for a $500,000 dollar grant through Mayors for a Guaranteed Income to kick off the 12 month pilot program.

“We are really shooting for 24 months ... so we are looking for other options to close those funding gaps, including reaching out to several different foundations who might be willing to subsidize the difference. But, that is part of what we will work on once we submit our proposal through Mayors for Guaranteed Income and work on the project design between now and October,” said Poe.

There are no specifics yet on who will qualify for the program, but the idea behind guaranteed income is that it can be a tool for racial and gender equity.

“What we hope to build through this is resiliency, helping people live with dignity, and empowering people to be able to spend this money on things that are the highest priority to them ... rather than being told how they have to spend the money,” said Poe.

Poe will present the pilot program to the city general policy committee in a meeting on Thursday.


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