The City of Austin Will Test A Guaranteed Income Program
At least 28 cities in the United States are experimenting with a guaranteed income program. Not all of them are the same or give out the same amount of money, but all are testing out a progressive policy that some Democrats want to roll out nationally, a universal basic income.
The City of Austin will join those other cities as the Austin City Council voted on Thursday to approve the pilot program that members of the Austin City Council hope will prevent people from losing their homes, in theory. Under the program the City of Austin will send checks of $1,000 to 85 households that are at risk of losing their homes.
The money is meant to be spent for needs, but according to the Texas Tribune, there are no rules on how people can spend the money.
Austin officials are working out how exactly the program will work and which families will receive the money. Austinites who qualify won’t have restrictions on how they can spend the money — but the idea is that they’ll use it to pay household costs like rent, utilities, transportation and groceries.
City officials have floated some possibilities regarding who should qualify for help: residents who have an eviction case filed against them or have trouble paying their utility bills, as well as people already experiencing homelessness.
The pilot program is a yearlong, $1 million dollar effort. According to the Texas Tribune, other Texas cities may look into launching similar programs in the future. Mayors of Houston and San Antonio have express interested in a guaranteed income plan before.