Prince George’s Co. launches new guaranteed income program. Here’s who’s eligible

Tonia Wellons, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, speaks during the launch of Thrive Prince George's on Tuesday. (Courtesy Prince George's County)

A new pilot program in Prince George’s County, Maryland, will give a financial boost to some families.

“This program is really about supporting people and their personal dignity,” said Tonia Wellons, president and CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation.

Wellons said that the launch of the “Thrive Prince George’s” guaranteed-income pilot program is about helping bridge a gap in income for families.

“If you are barely making ends meet, it is absolutely impossible to make good decisions,” Wellons said.

The public-private partnership will provide monthly payments of $800 to 50 young adults ages 18 to 24 who are aging out of foster care, as well as to more than 125 seniors ages 60 and up.

It is spearheaded by the Greater Washington Community Foundation, Prince George’s County Executive and Council, and the Meyer Foundation.

The pilot program costs a total of $4 million and is funded using both public and private resources, with participating partners each contributing $1 million to the program.

“This initiative is an innovative example of how we find solutions through public-private partnerships,” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. “Thanks to this collaborative pilot program, we’re weaving a stronger social fabric and empowering people to pursue their aspirations with dignity and resilience.”

While several guaranteed basic income pilot programs are currently operating around the D.C. area, including in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County, D.C. and Montgomery County, this is the first guaranteed income program to exclusively serve Prince George’s County.

The payments will run for two years, and they will have support of several local nonprofits.

“It’s not just handing out cash and leaving them to their own. It really is cash plus support and other services,” Wellons said.

Applications are expected to open in December and the first payments should arrive early next year.

“All communities stand to benefit when the people who live in those communities can do so with fewer hardships and with the means to honor their self-determination,” said Dr. George Askew, a pediatrician and president and CEO of the Meyer Foundation.

These pilots are aimed as reducing property. That’s the hope of the nonprofits that gathered on Tuesday to launch the pilot program.

“Studies have shown that modest guaranteed basic income pilots can decrease poverty by as much as 40%,” Wellons said.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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