Basic Income Pilot to Begin in Mississippi

indexBy Free Radical

A pilot program will grant fifteen Black mothers a guaranteed basic income of $1,000 a month for a year. Magnolia Mother’s Trust is organized by Springboard to Opportunity and will begin in the city of Jackson in December. It will track the social impact of having discretionary income. The women, who will be low-income, will be selected through a lottery system.

“Women are going to use the money on day-to-day things we take for granted,” said Aisha Nyandoro, Springboard to Opportunity’s CEO.

Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the nation and has one of the most stringent welfare programs. To receive food stamps, applicants must endure drug tests, work requirements, and a woefully underfunded bureaucracy. If successful, the average welfare recipient in Mississippi will receive $170 while the national average is $442.

Along with the additional funds, the women will receive leadership training and social work services.

According to Nyandoro, “Our hope is that with a little extra breathing room and not constantly having to operate in survival mode, our families will have an opportunity to dream about goals for their own lives and, just like the incredible women before them, become leaders who help organize for change in their communities.”

If successful, Nyandoro would like to expand the pilot to one hundred families for three years.

Yet Springboard to Opportunity has decided to start modestly due in part to the challenges faced by similar programs. Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley startup company delayed its guaranteed income project in Oakland, California because of fears that recipients would lose their government benefits. In the Canadian province of Ontario, a change of government leadership forced a similar program in Toronto to end prematurely.

Nonetheless, projects will continue in the United States. Economic Security Project, which is backing the Magnolia Mother’s Trust, is slated to begin an 18-month basic income pilot involving 100 families in Stockton, California next year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *