Participants receive first payments from Austin’s guaranteed income program

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Those who chose to participate in Austin’s Guaranteed Income pilot project received their first payments in September, according to a memo recently released by the city.

The Austin City Council approved $1.1 million to fund the program in May. These taxpayer funds will provide $1,000 per month to 85 families or individuals facing extreme financial hardship. Now Six months later, the city councilors share the progress of the work. At least 81 of those who received the money took part in a survey which revealed their housing and financial situation.

Just over 30% of pilot program participants had household incomes below $10,000, while nearly 52% said their incomes were below $15,000, according to survey results. Additionally, 64.2% said they received some kind of public benefit, including Medicaid, SNAP benefits, and housing assistance.

More than 30% also said they were financially unable to meet their basic needs, according to the survey. The results also showed that nearly 48% said they were at risk of losing their home.

contract city together Developed and managed the guaranteed income program, the group now plans to work with research firm Urban Institute to evaluate the program and study the impact of the payments on participants. Details of the study’s city memo will focus on issues such as how funding can change people’s food security and their economic mobility or housing choices. Participation in the study was not required, the memo states.

City leaders are expected to receive updates on the pilot’s research, including findings on the opportunities and challenges associated with cash payments, at various times over the next two years. The memo explains that by the summer of 2024, the city will receive a “final report of findings.”

Previous reports have shown the eligibility criteria for families to be eligible for the program. Pilot participants must:

  • Living in Austin City and Travis County
  • Household income at or below 60% of median household income ($66,180 for a family of four)
  • Not funded by UpTogether’s previous 12-month pilot from March 2021 to March 2022
  • At least one of the following conditions is met:
    • From homelessness to permanent housing
    • deportation request
    • In the past year, the household had rent arrears of two months or more
    • The family has received verbal or written notice or threatened to evict the landlord or property manager at any time in the past three months due to non-payment of rent
  • At least 18 years old

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