Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Program

The City of St. Louis's Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Program, uses ARPA funds to help families whose children attend city public schools.

Overview

Mayor Tishaura O. Jones signed the St. Louis Working Families Bill (BB116), using American Rescue Plan funds to expand healthcare, connect our youth to better opportunities, and invest directly in communities. This ordinance contains $5 million for a Guaranteed Basic Income pilot program to be administered by St. Louis Treasurer Adam Layne. 

Whether it's paying for childcare, putting food on the table, or going back to school for better-paying opportunities, this timeframe gives families the stability they need and empowers parents to make the best long-term decisions for their children. Analysis of 20 pilot programs across the country has shown how payments empower families to spend on the essentials - groceries, bills and utilities, transportation, daily household needs, and the like. St. Louis is joining a national movement to support working families to deliver the stability they need to get back on their feet and into the workforce. 

Mayor Jones on GBI

Guaranteed Basic Income General Information

Explanation of GBI

Guaranteed basic income (GBI) is an extension of fundamental safety nets, following in the path of programs and concepts such as Social Security, child-labor laws, weekends, and collective bargaining—protecting vulnerable citizens and preserving the dignity of work. GBI is an effective way to combat the economic aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges faced by working people. 

GBI is not seen as a replacement for work; it’s a financial floor to empower families who need stability to get back on their feet and into the workforce. Analysis from pilot programs across the country show how recipients spend these payments on the essentials - groceries, utilities, childcare, and more.

Investing in schoolchildren and their families is an investment in the future of our city. Mayor Jones remembers when she was raising her son, her childcare cost more than her mortgage. Many working parents lost jobs or saw their hours cut during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic; direct payments help families pay for critical needs like childcare, groceries, and utilities while they get back on their feet, and studies have shown how direct payments help parents re-enter the workforce with better opportunities. Poverty is the father of crime, and this is a way to invest directly in families to improve our neighborhoods and make communities safer.  

Qualifications

Families will have to meet at least three qualifications:

  • Applicants must be a parent or legal guardian of a parent of a child enrolled in a public school in the City of St. Louis. Charter schools qualify as public schools in this case.
  • Applicants must have suffered a negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Applicants’ income must be at or below 170% of federal poverty level. This metric is based on family size/household income. 

Application Timeline

Application for this program is not currently open. The City is examining best practices from other pilot programs across the country and is taking the time to ensure any application process is fair and equitable. 

Selection Process

The City is reviewing best practices from other municipalities. Many pilots use a randomized system of allocation.

Evaluation of the Pilot

The City is working with partners to determine an outside evaluator. 

Program Continuation

This pilot program will run until funds are exhausted. 

Impact on Other Public Benefits (EBT, Social Security, etc) 

The City is analyzing how public benefits will be impacted for participants in the pilot program and has reached out to relevant state and local agencies.

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