MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Eligible Tacoma residents to earn $500/month through GRIT program

Mar 4, 2024, 6:13 AM | Updated: 7:10 am

tacoma grit...

Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards in a promotional campaign image. (Photo courtesy of The Office of Mayor Woodards)

(Photo courtesy of The Office of Mayor Woodards)

From April through June 2025, 175 randomly selected Tacoma families will be awarded $500 each month with no strings attached — as long as they meet certain criteria.

Originally announced in 2020 by Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards, the city’s idea — “Growing Resilience in Tacoma” (GRIT) — works with United Way of Pierce County, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, the Urban League, Sound Outreach and the Tacoma Housing Authority to create a universal basic income pilot program within Tacoma.

More on GRIT: Tacoma’s GRIT income program showing early signs of success

“To restore truth to the idea of the American dream for working families, we must give people what they need to be successful,” Woodards said on the GRIT program in a prepared statement. “If we are going to effectively eradicate inequity in Tacoma or in any city across America, then we must look at all of the conditions that impact our residents. This includes economic conditions. That is why I am excited to join this group in exploring options for providing guaranteed income locally.”

More than 100 lower-income households in Tacoma received $500 a month for 12 months as part of GRIT in 2022. According to The Seattle Times, 23% of the monthly fund was spent on food and groceries while 12% was spent on housing and utilities. Now the city wants to expand this program with GRIT 2.0.

“These dollars are unconditional and unrestricted,” United Way of Pierce County stated on its website for GRIT applications. “This project is designed to demonstrate that this type of cash investment can reduce feelings of overwhelm and toxic stress, improve economic stability, increase housing security and improve health and well-being while reducing poverty in our community.”

More on Tacoma: ‘Tenant Bill of Rights’ wins by fewer than 400 votes

To qualify for GRIT 2.0, the head of household must be single with children, be a resident within the eligible Tacoma zip codes and meet United Way’s asset-limited, income-constrained while employed criteria. Residents’ income must be above 100% of the Federal Poverty Line and below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line.

“It’s given me the space to think about the best possible decisions moving forward, as opposed to a very quick decision that I would have had to make in the past because the pressure would have been there, pounding down on me,” Stephanie, a Tacoma resident who was previously selected to be in GRIT, told KIRO Newsradio. “To not have to have a second job has given me the ability to continue to help with my parents and to show up as a mom. It’s also enabled me to almost completely pay off my credit cards.”

The GRIT program application is on the United Way of Pierce County website.

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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