STL Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Program

The STL Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Program uses ARPA funds to help families whose children attend city public schools.


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. Eligible recipients will receive a $500 monthly stipend for up to 18 months total.

Applications for Guaranteed Basic Income have closed.

About Guaranteed Basic Income

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.

The original program was for 440 families to enroll. But Jack Dorsey’s #startsmall philanthropic initiative, with operational support from Deaconess Foundation, contributed $1 million to add an additional 100 participants to the program. This pilot program will run until funds are exhausted.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants must meet all the following requirements: 

  • St. Louis City resident with a child or dependent under the age of 18 enrolled in a public school (St. Louis Public Schools or a public charter school)
  • A combined household income of less than 170% of the federal poverty level
  • Experienced negative financial impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic (loss of work, increased childcare costs, and the like)


Phase 1: Program Information October 10th - October 23rd 

Eligible residents interested in being notified when the application window opens are asked to sign up on the website. This page is open to gather reliable contact information for those interested in applying for the program. NOTE: Submitting information through this portal is NOT an application. 

Phase 2: Application Period October 23rd – November 1st

We will invite all eligible residents to take advantage of this opportunity to apply. Documentation requirements include Photo ID and Proof of School Enrollment (school documentation with parent, guardian, dependent name and address, like a recent report card or enrollment document). 

Phase 3: Document Verification November 6th – November 13th

Applicants chosen via lottery will be invited to submit financial documentation and verification of City of St. Louis residency. Timely submission of documents will increase the chance of participation.

Selection Process

Eligible applicants will be selected by lottery system.

Washington University in St. Louis’ Social Policy Institute and the Brown School Evaluation Center are partnering with the City for data analysis and evaluation of the program. The academic team will study the impact of the program on the participants’ lives and help them share their stories. 

Related News

Mayor Jones on GBI

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