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Tacoma opens up applications for universal basic income pilot program

Aug 10, 2021, 9:57 AM | Updated: 11:37 am

Universal basic income...

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Applications are now open for Tacoma’s universal basic income pilot, which will pay participants $500 a month to cover a range of personal expenses.

Tacoma mayor considers universal basic income to ‘level the playing field’

Working with United Way of Pierce County, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, the Urban League, Sound Outreach, and the Tacoma Housing Authority, the city’s pilot will be called “Growing Resilience in Tacoma,” or GRIT.

The program will pay out $500 a month to 110 people every month for a year. Participants will be randomly selected based on a handful of qualifying factors, revolving largely around those laid out in the “ALICE” acronym: Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, and Employed. A special focus will be paid to BIPOC residents and single heads of household residents who meet the ALICE criteria.

More specifically, applicants must be a single parent/guardian household with children up to 17 years old (21 years old for children with disabilities). Eligibility is also limited to Tacoma residents living in the Eastside, Hilltop, and South Tacoma neighborhoods.

Those who are chosen will be asked to fill out a series of surveys for researchers to assess how they use the money they’re given. Each person will be given a $30 gift card for every survey they complete.

Tacoma mayor explains why she believes in universal basic income pilot

A second group will also receive $30 per survey to help researchers better understand their financial needs, but won’t receive the $500 monthly stipend.

The city will notify selected participants in mid-September.

A similar 18-month pilot in Stockton, Calif. — which handed out $500 direct monthly payments to over 125 families — showed that 40% of the money went to food, 25% went to sales and other merchandise, and 12% was spent on utility payments.

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Tacoma opens up applications for universal basic income pilot program