Mayor Brandon M. Scott Joins Mayors for a Guaranteed Income
Tuesday Feb 9th, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, MD (Tuesday, February 9, 2021) — Today, Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott officially joined the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income and committed to launching a guaranteed income pilot to increase economic security among low-income residents. Mayors for a Guaranteed Income is a national network of mayors who advocate for a guaranteed income—direct, recurring cash payments—that lift all of our communities to build a resilient, just America. Joining the network puts Baltimore at the forefront of a national fight for equity, and connects the city to a network of best practices and resources, including up to $500,000 in pilot funding.
"Baltimore is the birthplace of redlining and residential segregation. That legacy shows up in the stark inequalities of our city today, which have been exacerbated by this pandemic. To ensure the economic security and dignity of our residents, we must be willing to invest in bold solutions," said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. "I look forward to measuring the impact of this pilot program in Baltimore and joining other cities to build the case for federal policies that put more money into low-income households through guaranteed income."
Baltimore will join at least eleven other cities that have implemented, or committed to having, direct-cash pilot programs in place in 2021 — all with a goal of creating momentum for a federal guaranteed income program. With a guaranteed income program, people are supported through monthly cash payments without restrictions for a sustained period of time, to create the breathing room to catch up on expenses and work toward long-term financial security.
To guide the development of Baltimore’s guaranteed income pilot program, Mayor Scott will form a steering committee this month, to be co-chaired by Danielle Torain, Director of OSI-Baltimore, and Joe Jones, President and CEO of the Center for Urban Families. The guaranteed income pilot is slated to launch this fall.
The steering committee will determine the details and specifications of the Baltimore pilot. The pilot will be led by the Mayor’s Office of Children & Family Success (MOCFS), which oversees a range of anti-poverty programs designed to improve outcomes for Baltimore’s children, youth and families while moving families toward sustained financial security. The agency administers Baltimore City Head Start and the city’s five Community Action Partnership (CAP) centers, which are currently distributing more than $100 million in emergency energy, water and rent assistance to residents in need. For the last year, the agency also has led coordination of the city’s emergency COVID-19 food strategy.
“Mayor Scott’s commitment to equity and his vision for a potential role for guaranteed income in our city’s larger anti-poverty work is both exciting and vital, and it directly aligns to our work in the Mayor’s Office of Children & Family Success,” says Executive Director Tisha Edwards. “I look forward to supporting the pilot and being part of expanding Baltimore’s safety net to meet the vast and diverse needs of our families at a time when need is growing daily.”
Pilot programs in other cities have provided a small number of households (typically 100-200) with a guaranteed income of $500-$1,000 a month over a period of 18-24 months. While some randomly select participating households from low-income rolls, others target specific populations, such as Black female-led households and Black mothers, or encourage participation of marginalized residents such as returning citizens and undocumented immigrants. The pilots to-date are funded philanthropically, though the pilot in St. Paul, MN also leverages federal CARES Act funding, in addition to philanthropic support.
Guaranteed income is an evidence-based policy intervention and an idea that goes back decades. It has been widely promoted by civil rights leaders, economists, labor experts and elected officials. The strategy caught traction most recently amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had an especially deep financial impact on low-income people and families and exacerbated existing structural racial and gender barriers that have made moving out of poverty virtually impossible for tens of millions nationally, and tens of thousands in Baltimore.
The mayor-led guaranteed income movement of today took root in February 2019 with the start of a two-year pilot program in Stockton, CA that was extended due to the pandemic. Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs launched the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income coalition to support local pilot programs and build buy-in at the federal level for a federal guaranteed income program through independent program evaluation and mayoral advocacy.
The Mayor committed to joining Mayors for a Guaranteed Income as part of his 100 Days of Action Tracker, released last week. View the tracker at mayor.baltimorecity.gov/tracker.
For more information on the mayor-led guaranteed income movement, visit mayorsforagi.org.