Is DC Experimenting with Basic Income?

  • October 10th 2018

by Nena Perry-Brown

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This summer, the city of Chicago announced a pilot program to provide 1,000 families with a $500 basic monthly income, an initiative Business Insider cites as the largest such experiment in the country. Now, DC may top that.

As first reported by the Urban Institute, DC is embarking upon a pilot program ("DC Flex") to offer a randomly-selected group of families, earning up to 30 percent of area median income (AMI), an annual stipend of $7,200.

In order to qualify, the selected households must have a currently valid lease and have previously received homeless support services. Each family can only spend up to the value of their rent in a given month and can only withdraw up to $500 of unused funds at the end of each year; they can keep all unused funds once the pilot is complete. Otherwise, there are no stipulations on how the money must be spent.

The overall purpose of the stipend is to be a safety net to prevent homelessness and boost financial security. Recipients will also be required to attend at least two meetings with a personal finance coach. The pilot program will expire in four years, although it could be extended.

The program is being administered via a collaboration between the Department of Human Services, the Inter-agency Council on Homelessness, and the Department of Housing and Community Development and will be analyzed by the Urban Institute and The Lab @ DC.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/is-dc-experimenting-with-basic-income/14549.

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