The city of Austin, Texas could become the latest city in the United States of America to offer a universal income pilot program.
The city council approved the plan in May this year with the initiative set to benefit 135 different families. The local government is working with a non-profit called UpTogether, who aim to uplift the community through measures such as the Guaranteed Income Pilot Program.
The council is currently deliberating on the 135 families set to benefit from the program.
“The administration of a guaranteed income pilot and distribution of unrestricted funds represents a public purpose for the City of Austin,” a memo sent out by Austin’s city council said in May.
“Studies and program evaluations have shown that one of the most
effective and efficient methods to assist households in advancing economic development, public health, and public safety is the use of direct cash assistance programs which put the decisions for utilisation of funds into the hands of those directly impacted.”
Who is eligible for the UBI Payments?
On August 1,2022, the council updated their eligibility criteria in their latest memo, which now states residents must:
- Live within the City of Austin and Travis County limits;
- Have a household income that is at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Family Income (66,180 dollars for a household of four);
- Not have received funding through UpTogether’s previous 12-month pilot from March 2021-March 2022;
They must also meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Be moving from homelessness toward permanent housing;
- Have a filed eviction;
- Household has been behind on rent for 2 or more months over the past year; and/or
- Household has received a verbal or written notice of intent to evict OR a threat to vacate by landlord or property manager at any time within the past 3 months due to nonpayment of rent; and
- Applicant is at least 18 years of age.
Austin’s city council also cited a previous program led by UpTogether with a total of 173 households receiving 1000 dollars a month for a period of one year.
The findings from that program indicate the following:
- All the participants used the money for basic needs like rent or mortgage payments, utilities, food, clothing, household items and transportation.
- 48 percent of the participants were able to reduce debt.
- 39 pc of the participants increased their savings.
- The employment rate among the participants increased from 56 pc to 67 pc.