Alexandria’s guaranteed income pilot program will pay $500 a month

The City of Alexandria in Virginia wants to see if it can help raise people out of poverty by paying them $500 a month.

It’s a program the city wants to get the community’s feedback on during virtual meetings next week.

The guaranteed income pilot program will start Nov. 1 and continue for two years.

One hundred fifty eligible households will receive $500 payments every month, with no restrictions on how the money can be spent.

“They can use it for the needs that they find important for their family, without the government saying, ‘OK, this is where it needs to go,'” Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson said.

The pilot was approved by the city council last month, and will be paid for with $3 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds.

“Look at the money that we spend on food assistance. Look at the money that we spend on housing assistance. Look at the money that we spend on child care — all the different impacts of poverty,” Wilson said. “Part of the argument here is this might be more efficient.”

At the end of what will essentially be a test run, the program will be assessed to see how well it worked.

Wilson said it’s still being decided how the participants will be chosen.

“We’re going to be looking for folks who are actually above the federal poverty line … who are not already qualifying for a number of other programs,” he said.

The city is inviting residents to take part in Zoom meetings about the program on Monday at 2 p.m. and Tuesday at 6 p.m. You can register in advance.

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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