Mayor Turner announces 1-year guaranteed income pilot program to help impoverished residents

HOUSTON, Texas -- Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a one-year guaranteed income pilot program alongside the Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity on May 19 designed to help impoverished residents.

The program is in partnership with Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, a coalition of more than 60 mayors engaged in the advancement of a federal guaranteed income, with direct recurring cash payments to the poor and middle class, according to a May 19 press release.

A total of 110 program participants will receive $375 a month, totaling $4,500 annually. According to the release, the program will disperse the money monthly to individuals in Houston's most underserved neighborhoods with a "goal of progressing toward a more equitable and prosperous city."

In the release, Turner said many Houstonians in Complete Communities, 10 historically under-resourced neighborhoods, struggle to meet the basic needs of their families.

"This pilot can be game-changing for many Houstonians and a small step toward deepening equity in this city," Turner said. "The program is a bridge to access. It creates the ability to afford quality transportation, child care, improved housing options, healthier food for families. A guaranteed income is an effective tool with proven results that can help combat economic insecurity."

The pilot program will target residents who have experienced homelessness, been involved the justice system, or have health concerns or other impediments that cause them to struggle with income inequity and employment instability, the release said.

According to a statement from Gena Jerkins, executive director of the Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity, the fund was created in 2020 as a result of the social and racial unrest.

"The income pilot program allows the Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity to be unapologetically focused on uplifting marginalized communities via a comprehensive approach to funding that includes supporting and partnering with families for positive impact," Jenkins said.

In order to qualify for the program, an applicant must be a resident of Houston, at least 18 years old and must have a household income at or below the federal poverty level. Applications close May 25 at 11:59 p.m. Those wanting to apply can do so by visiting the Houston Equity Fund website.

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