Georgia Launches Monthly $850 Guaranteed Income Program For Black Women

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Hundreds of Black women in Georgia will receive $850 a month in cash for two years –– no strings attached –– after a coalition of organizations launched a guaranteed income program.

The Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund along with the nonprofit Give Directly announced the In Her Hands program this year and are scheduled to officially implement it beginning in 2022. The program will distribute $13 million and is set to be one of the largest guaranteed income pilot programs in the US.

"Black women are among the most likely groups to experience cash shortfalls that make covering basic needs difficult. This isn't the result of poor choice; it's the result of pervasive economic insecurity that has the sharpest impact on women and communities of color," Hope Wollensack, executive direct of the GRO Fund, said in a press release. "Guaranteed income is a step toward creating a more just and equitable economy."

In an intentional move, the organizations leading the program selected women living in Atlanta where income inequality is disproportionately impacting Black women at some of the highest rates in the country.

Specifically, program participants reside in the Old Fourth Ward section of the Peach State's capital city –– the same neighborhood where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was raised and promoted guaranteed income. Other participants will also include women from suburban and rural areas of the state.

Part of the program will study how the guaranteed funds impact participants' financial and mental well-being.

And there's some precedent to this program. In Stockton, California, 125 residents received $500 a month for a year through a pilot program. What the city found was that recipients had improved job prospects and mental health, and used the money to cover basic necessities.

In Mississippi, the Magnolia's Mothers Trust distributed $1,000 to Black moms for a year who testified the difference it made in their lives.

The city of Oakland, California is currently running its own guaranteed income program, giving $500 a month to 600 families of color who are low income.

Across all American households, one study found most wouldn't be able to cover a $400 unexpected expense; while on average, Black American households hold just a fraction of wealth as white American families.

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