The City of Newark, New Jersey is launching its first mayor-led guaranteed income pilot program. In Fall 2021, 400 Newark residents will receive bi-weekly payments of $250 and semi-annual payments of $3,000 over a two-year period.
A Guaranteed Income (G.I.) is an unconditional monthly cash payment given directly to individuals – no strings attached and no work requirements. Guaranteed income is rooted in a history of racial justice – in 1967, against a similar backdrop of civil unrest and racial reckoning, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., called for guaranteed income as the simplest and most effective solution to poverty.
Q: How is this different from Universal Basic Income (UBI)?
A: UBI is a government program that proposes providing every citizen with a lump sum of income every year with no strings attached. Guaranteed income, on the other hand, argues for providing cash payments to specific, targeted communities in order to address income inequality. It focuses on providing cash payments to people living below the poverty line or with inconsistent or no income. Please learn more here.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded in the US one thing remains clear:
OUR SOCIAL SAFETY NET MUST BE STRENGTHENED.
In the U.S., our current social safety net is made up of programs that include Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the earned income tax credit (EITC), and Medicaid.
Current Social Safety Net
While the social safety net works for some people, NOT EVERYONE who needs these programs can access them. So how can we serve more people and strengthen our social safety net?
We believe guaranteed income can supplement rather than replace the current social safety net. It serves as a built-in income floor for those without one.
Current Social Safety Net
with Guaranteed Income
The Newark Movement for Economic Equity will target residents who are part of the social safety net and residents who might be less likely to access to the social safety net.
Newark is a city with a growing corporate footprint, a bustling startup community, dedicated and long-standing anchor institutions, and a renowned arts scene. New Jersey’s most populous city has never shied away from taking bold risks and creating new programs to improve the overall well-being of residents. Today, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka is implementing a series of diverse reforms to create more economic opportunities for Newark residents with a focus on equity.
Launching a guaranteed income pilot in Newark will help test theories about how to create sustained community development. After the two-year period, the city of Newark will use data and lessons learned to change existing policies and help build a stronger, more inclusive social safety net. Learn more about Mayor Baraka’s vision for the Newark Movement for Economic Equity here.
Newark Mayor, Ras J. Baraka
Kevin works directly with Mayor Baraka and his senior cabinet to leverage private and government assets to support the Mayor’s agenda in areas such as public safety, summer youth employment, workforce development, economic development, health and wellness, education and literacy, immigration, and neighborhood and place-based initiatives. Since 2019, Kevin has been instrumental in building the foundation for Newark’s Guaranteed Income Pilot through assembling the 30-person task force and exploring details about how to launch a Newark-specific pilot. Kevin also resides in Newark.
In partnership with the Office of the Mayor, Hawwa leads the historic Newark Guaranteed Income Pilot program from design through to launch and implementation. Born in Nigeria and raised in Newark, she leans on her 10+ years of experience in the nonprofit sector to lead her social sector consultancy firm, Pink Trumpet. Her firm focuses on helping nonprofits develop the strategic and operational prowess to launch social initiatives. Hawwa is also a proud Rutgers alumna, holding a Masters Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the university. She currently resides in Newark, NJ.
In 2019, the Newark Guaranteed Income Task Force was formed to explore how a guaranteed income – regular, unrestricted infusions of cash – might provide an effective solution to meeting the financial security needs of Newark residents. The task force was made up of 33 organizations across Newark and New Jersey that came together for one year to map out how a guaranteed income pilot could be carried out in Newark. This year-long investigation led to a key set of recommendations about how Newark should shape its guaranteed income pilot.2019
The Newark Guaranteed Income Task Force released a report co-authored by the city of Newark, the Jain Family Institute, and the Economic Security Project in June 2020 titled, Building Financial Security: Newark’s Roadmap Toward a Guaranteed Income. In this report, the task force called for Newark to launch a pilot with a focus on providing guaranteed income to housing insecure populations. To build on this momentum, Newark became the second city to join Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), a coalition of a dozen mayors from around the U.S advocating for a guaranteed income. Jack Dorsey’s initial $3 million grant to MGI helped the city to receive a planning grant.2020
The team rebranded the pilot and gave it a new name: Newark Movement for Economic Equity. The team is actively planning for a Spring 2021 launch to start with a cohort of 30 Newark residents. The Program Manager has been collecting lists from various community-based organizations and departments across the city of Newark in order to begin the selection process.2021
This program cannot happen without buy-in from Newark residents. We envision involving 400 Newark residents for this research study. The Newark Movement for Economic Equity will focus on providing guaranteed income to housing insecure populations. Housing insecure is used as an umbrella term that encompasses individuals who experience several dimensions of housing problems including affordability, safety, quality, insecurity, and loss of housing.
All participants will be chosen at random.
Both groups will receive $12,000 over two years at different frequencies.
Will receive $250 bi-weekly for two years
Will receive $3000 – four times over two years
Newark residents who are at least 18 years of age with income levels that are approximately 200% below the federal poverty threshold will be randomly selected across all of Newark’s five wards.