Year-long Tacoma universal basic income pilot program kicks off

Dec 16, 2021, 8:49 AM | Updated: 10:31 am
Universal basic income...
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

After months of accepting applications, Tacoma’s universal basic income pilot program has officially kicked off.

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

Starting this week, the program will pay out $500 each month to 110 people for one year. Participants were chosen randomly with assistance from the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania, 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 was paid to BIPOC residents and single heads of household residents who met the ALICE criteria, with eligibility limited to residents living in the Eastside, Hilltop, and South Tacoma neighborhoods.

In total, the program — known formally as Growing Resilience in Tacoma, or GRIT — will end up running taxpayers around $100,000 to cover administrative costs, according to Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. The bulk of GRIT’s funding, though, comes from a $500,000 donation from former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, an additional $100,000 from the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI) group, and other fundraising efforts led by local organizations.

Woodards is a founding member of the MGI, which also includes mayors from Atlanta, Los Angeles, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Philadelphia, and more. She has long championed her belief that the program could provide a crucial outlet to meet the basic needs of struggling lower income families.

“I think when people have their basic needs met, that’s when they could begin to think about how they could do them better for themselves and their families,” she told KIRO Radio’s Gee & Ursula Show last December. “… It’s going to provide people with a little bit of breathing room, or at least the ability to breathe, so that they could think of, potentially, about what their next step could be.”

Tacoma mayor explains why she believes in universal basic income pilot

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.

Local News

Frank Sumrall

Kraken’s best-kept secret for its dramatic ascension this year? Goalie coach Steve Briere

Martin Jones was a cast-off. Grubauer lost his edge. And the Kraken's defense looked bleak — until Steve Briere showed up at Climate Pledge's front door.
10 hours ago
Lynnwood Clinic...
L.B. Gilbert

Lynnwood opioid clinic receives DOH license amid controversy

The Washington DOH just gave the final approval for a proposed opioid treatment clinic to open in Lynnwood.
10 hours ago
L.B. Gilbert

Regional Homeless Authority requests $12 billion for 5 year plan

How much money would it take to solve homelessness in Seattle? The KCRHA estimates that it would take roughly $11.8 billion to address homelessness.
10 hours ago
Judge, pot shop robbery...
Lisa Brooks

WA Corrections pays $600K settlement in sexual harassment lawsuit

Washington's Corrections Department has agreed to pay $600,000 dollars to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a former intern.
10 hours ago
(Photo from KIRO 7)...
Shawn Garrett, KIRO 7 News

‘A double life’: Skagit County pastor accused of dealing drugs, money laundering

A Skagit County pastor who “admitted he leads a double life” was arrested in January with nearly three pounds of methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine
10 hours ago
A shopper checks out an item in a Target store in Pittsburgh on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. On Friday, t...
Associated Press

US inflation and consumer spending cooled in December

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge eased further in December, and consumer spending fell — the latest evidence that the Fed’s series of interest rate hikes are slowing the economy. Friday’s report from the Commerce Department showed that prices rose 5% last month from a year earlier, down from a 5.5% year-over-year […]
10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Year-long Tacoma universal basic income pilot program kicks off