Minneapolis mayor proposes guaranteed basic income pilot using federal relief funds

Selected families would receive $500 a month for 24 months.
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Mayor Jacob Frey on July 10, 2020.

Mayor Jacob Frey on July 10, 2020.

Mayor Jacob Frey has proposed using $3 million in federal relief funds to pay for a guaranteed basic income pilot program.

Frey's office unveiled plans Friday for how to spend the first $89 million the city is receiving through the federal American Rescue Plan Act. It includes a suite of different recommendations, focused broadly on affordable housing, public safety and economic recovery. (You can read details on the Minneapolis mayor's website.)

Among the numerous proposals is a pilot program that would provide a monthly payment to approximately 200 low-income households. Recipients must be in the city of Minneapolis, and be referred by one of the to-de-determined referral partners. 

These households would receive $500 per month for 24 months, with the mayor's office arguing this will help address some of the wide disparities between white and BIPOC residents, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The goal, his office continued, is "to seed household financial growth and stability."

St. Paul launched a similar program last fall. The People's Prosperity Pilot set out to provide $500 a month to 150 families for a total of 18 months. Earlier this year, the Spokesman-Recorder wrote about the pilot's early signs of success. Six U.S. cities, including St. Paul, have recently launched guaranteed basic income programs, with a handful more planning test runs this year, USA Today reported in March.

In Minneapolis, the city council will need to adopt Frey's proposed spending in a July 2 meeting, according to the mayor's office.

The city is receiving a total of $271 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds. Frey says he will outline how he wants to spend the remaining $182 million later this year. 

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