By Nicole D. Batey,
Special at AFRO

Mayor Brandon M. Scott, local officials and strategic partners, stood outside the War Memorial Building on April 20 to announce the Baltimore Young Families Success Fund (BYFSF), the Mayor’s guaranteed income pilot program.

The BYFSF will provide 200 young parents, ages 18 to 24, with an unconditional cash payment of $1,000 per month for 24 months to provide financial stability and alleviate poverty.

“Our guaranteed income pilot program will help address the economic fallout from COVID-19 and help young parents who have been hit hardest by the pandemic,” Scott said. “It’s fundamentally about putting our families in a position to succeed. Guaranteed income programs have been proven to significantly improve the quality of life of recipients.

“The Baltimore Young Families Success Fund will put money directly into the hands of our residents because they know what their families need to move up the ranks,” Scott continued during a press conference broadcast on CharmTV and the accounts. mayor’s officials on social media. “This investment is another example of Baltimore using its ARPA dollars to have a real impact on our residents and our communities.”

Mayor Scott has allocated $4.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to be distributed directly to beneficiaries. Program administration costs will be funded by the Mayor’s Office for Child and Family Success (MOCFS) as well as private and philanthropic donors, including CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Abell Foundation, the France-Merrick Foundation and the Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund.

The pilot is a collaboration between the City of Baltimore, Maryland’s CASH Campaign, Mayors for Guaranteed Income (MGI), and Steady. Guaranteed income is designed as an unconditional monthly cash payment paid directly to individuals and is intended to supplement, rather than replace, the existing social safety net. Guaranteed Income provides stable and predictable income for recipients to decide how to spend direct payments based on their personal needs.

A source of guaranteed income should significantly improve the quality of life for families in the city of Baltimore. When families have a basic income, they are better equipped to manage material barriers, reduce nutritional insecurity, pay for childcare, cover unexpected medical costs, and find and maintain employment.

The CASH campaign will offer benefits advice and complementary services to support the implementation of the project. Steady, a fintech company, will distribute funds to participants. Abt Associates, Johns Hopkins and the Center for Guaranteed Income Research will partner with the city to assess the impact of the project.

Over the past year, a steering committee co-led by Joe Jones Jr., Founder, President and CEO of the Center for Urban Families (CFUF), and Danielle Torain, Director of the Open Society Institute – Baltimore (OSI) , was meeting to design the pilot program. The steering committee conducted public surveys and focus groups, including input from those eligible for the program into the design process.

“The predominantly black and Latino working-class communities of Baltimore — already suffering from decades of institutional disinvestment — have been among the hardest hit by the COVID pandemic and its economic fallout,” Torain said. “Guaranteed income is a powerful, people-centered way to address both historic divestment and the more recent impact of COVID. We hope that by working with communities and creating this pilot project, we can create a sustainable model to help lift people out of poverty and invite more public and private investment into these communities.

“We’re thrilled that 200 young parents are being selected to participate in a rigorously evaluated program to find out how these unconditional resources are impacting their family-strengthening and economic aspirations,” Jones said.

Maryland CASH Campaign Co-Founder and CEO Robin McKinney also made remarks.

“Baltimore joins other cities across the country in showing how providing guaranteed income builds resilience, promotes self-determination, and preserves the dignity of very low-income families. Results from other cities have shown that recipients are healthier, happier and better able to find full-time employment because money worries have been largely eliminated,” McKinney said. “Hopefully these guaranteed income pilots will eventually lead to a national program. CASH in our name means “creating assets, savings, and hope,” which is what Guaranteed Income will provide for 200 young families in Baltimore.

To be eligible to participate in the Baltimore Guaranteed Income Pilot, applicants must:

• be residents of the city of Baltimore,

• between 18 and 24 years old at the time of the application deadline

• be either a biological or adoptive parent or guardians, with full or partial caring responsibilities

• Have an income equal to or less than 300% of the federal poverty level based on the size of their household.

Applications will open at 6:00 a.m. on Monday, May 2, 2022 and close at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 9, 2022. Eligible residents can visit to apply or find answers to frequently asked questions about the program.

Applicants must:

  1. Answer eligibility questions

2. Consent to Respond to the Survey and Complete the Application

3. Complete the application

Once the application closes on May 9, 2022, eligible applicants will be placed in a random lottery to select 200 entrants.

Candidates will belong to one of four groups.

• Group A – 70 people will be selected to form a cohort of storytellers to share their experiences with guaranteed income. This group will receive a monthly payment of $1,000 for 24 months.

• Group B – 130 people will be selected for a research study, including both quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews. This group will receive a monthly payment of $1,000 for 24 months.

• Group C – 156 people will be selected as a control group for the research study. This group will not receive monthly payments but will be eligible for incentives to participate in research activities.

• Group D – Other applicants will not be selected for any part of the program, including payments and research.

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