Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott on April 20, 2022 announced that the city was preparing to open applications for its guaranteed income pilot program for young parents. Image via Charm TV Baltimore/Facebook.

Two hundred young parents will soon begin receiving monthly $1,000 payments as part of Baltimore’s guaranteed income pilot program.

Baltimore City has finished identifying and onboarding recipients and started processing payments Monday, Mayor Brandon Scott announced. Funds will soon be sent to recipients’ accounts or pay cards.

As part of the guaranteed income pilot program, 200 Baltimore parents between 18 and 24 years old will receive a monthly $1,000 payment for 24 months. The unconditional payment is meant to “provide financial relief for their families and stabilize their households,” city officials said.

“The Baltimore Young Families Success Fund puts money directly in the hands of our residents because they know what their families need to ascend the ladder of opportunity,” Scott said in a statement. “Guaranteed income programs are proven time and time again to enhance recipients’ wellbeing, and I am excited to see the impact that these dollars will have in the lives of young families in need throughout Baltimore over the next 24 months.”

To qualify for the pilot program, applicants had to be Baltimore City residents between the ages of 18 to 24 at the time of the application deadline; be a parent or guardian (biological or adoptive) with full or partial care-taking responsibilities, and have an income at or below 300% of the federal poverty level for their household size.

Of the pool of eligible applicants, the city used a randomized lottery to select 200 guaranteed income recipients, including 70 who will share their experiences with guaranteed income as part of a storytelling cohort and 130 who will participate in surveys and interviews for a research study.

The Baltimore Young Families Success Fund will also provide benefits counseling throughout the 24-month pilot program.

There are 156 individuals who will not receive monthly payments and who will be part of a control group for the research study. They can receive incentives for participating in the research study.

The remainder of applicants will not participate in the pilot program.

The city will use $4.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to directly distribute funds to recipients. Costs of administering the program will be covered through the Mayor’s Office of Children and Family Success as well as private and philanthropic donors, including The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Abell Foundation, the France-Merrick Foundation, and The Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund.

The city government, the nonprofit CASH Campaign of Maryland, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, and financial technology company Steady are collaborating on Baltimore’s guaranteed income pilot program.

During the onboarding process, recipients underwent orientation and benefits counseling.

City officials said recipients expressed plans to use their guaranteed income payments for career training classes, improvements to their living situations, and steps to become more financially stable.

Robin McKinney, co-founder and CEO of the CASH Campaign of Maryland, said in a statement that her organization “is excited to see the impact this pilot will have on lifting young Baltimore families out of poverty.”

“CASH is excited to continue to work with the Mayor’s Office to uplift the stories of the participants and join the national movement around guaranteed income, truly creating assets, savings, and hope,” McKinney said.

CASH Campaign of Maryland is helping with the onboarding process, benefits counseling, and support with implementing the project. Mayors for a Guaranteed Income is providing technical assistance for planning, preparing, and implementing the program. Steady will distribute funds to the guaranteed income recipients. Abt Associates, Johns Hopkins, and the Center for Guaranteed Income Research will help the city evaluate the impact of the pilot program.

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at marcus@baltimorefishbowl.com...

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