Guaranteed Income Program Reduced Food Insecurity Among D.C. Residents

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Guaranteed income programs have cropped up across the country in recent years, with cities piloting the socio-economic initiative among hundreds and thousands of their residents.

The outcomes of the programs so far have shown to reduce rates of depression and even doing more to close the nation's racial wealth gap. Now, a guaranteed income program in D.C. has proven to reduce rates of food insecurity among recipients.

THRIVE East of the River provided cash payments of $5,500 to 590 residents in D.C.'s predominately Black Ward 8 neighborhoods between July 2020 to January 2022, with no rules on how recipients used the funds. According to a report by The Hill, 42% of people used the funds on food, while 54% of residents used it on housing.

Before the program began, 34% of the residents reported not having enough to eat, according to findings by the Urban Institute of Greater DC. After it ended last month, that number dropped to 19%.

"Cash transfer shows promise for smoothing transitions from poverty while illuminating systemic barriers that will continue, especially as a pandemic moratoria continue to life," the report says.

Data collected over the last two years indicates rates of food insecurity among Black American households increased, especially among families with children. Considering the generations of oppression that has led to greater unemployment, underemployment, redlining, food deserts, left Black families vulnerable to the disproportionate economic impact of the pandemic.

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