Mayor Scott, Community Leaders Take First Step To Establish Baltimore’s Guaranteed Income Pilot

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Brandon M. Scott
Baltimore City
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BALTIMORE, MD (Friday, June 4, 2021) — Community leaders selected by Mayor Brandon M. Scott to design Baltimore’s guaranteed income pilot program are ready to engage the public in key details of the pilot design. Today, the Guaranteed Income Steering Committee is kicking off an online survey, the first in a month of activities to capture broad community input. 

In early February, Mayor Scott joined Mayors for a Guaranteed Income and committed to launching a guaranteed income pilot to increase economic security among Baltimore’s low-income residents. Guaranteed income is the distribution of direct, recurring cash payments with no strings attached and no work requirements. It is meant to supplement, not replace, existing forms of food, housing and medical assistance.

“To ensure the economic security and dignity of Baltimoreans, particularly given our legacy as the birthplace of redlining, we must be willing to invest in bold solutions like guaranteed income,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “This Steering Committee shares my urgency around making Baltimore a just and equitable city, and I thank them for starting this work by engaging the community — a clear sign of their commitment to doing right by those residents who will benefit from this program the most.”

Baltimore residents will have an opportunity to weigh in on program details, like who will participate in the pilot and how long it will last. The committee will also conduct focus groups in late June, with a goal of completing the pilot design by late summer and launching a guaranteed income pilot program in Baltimore this fall.

“Our urgency is driven by the belief in the value and impact of a guaranteed income program in Baltimore, where the existing safety net doesn’t begin to meet the deep and pervasive need that has grown out of historical, structural racism,” added Danielle Torain, Director of OSI-Baltimore, who co-chairs the Steering Committee along with Joe Jones, President and CEO of the Center for Urban Families. “The sooner we get checks into the hands of pilot participants, the sooner we’ll understand how guaranteed income can be a path toward the financial stability that has eluded economically marginalized families for too long.”

Over the next two months, the Guaranteed Income Steering Committee, a 21-member group of nonprofit, foundation and institutional leaders, will determine the details of the Baltimore pilot. The committee began meeting biweekly in April. Meet the members of the Mayor’s Guaranteed Income Steering Committee here.

Overseen by the Mayor’s Office of Children & Family Success, Baltimore’s guaranteed income pilot will be a short-term program in which a small, specific group of residents will receive payments and the impact of those payments will be tracked and measured.  

“Our pilot program may only affect a small number of local residents initially, but done right, its potential for far-reaching impact is great. Baltimore’s pilot results will combine with other cities’ results to make the case for a federal guaranteed income program,” said Guaranteed Income Steering Committee Co-Chair Joe Jones. “We need the community to help us build a Baltimore pilot that can tell us the most about how a permanent, large-scale guaranteed income program can create the income and equity that far too many residents lack here in Baltimore and in many other communities.”

Residents can weigh in on the pilot throughout the month of June by completing the online survey, which runs through June 27: English surveySpanish survey.

Residents can also sign up to participate in focus groups, held in English and Spanish, from June 19 to June 30: Focus group sign-up

Baltimore is one of more than 15 cities across the country conducting guaranteed income pilots, and at least another 30 mayors have stated support for guaranteed income policies. Participants in the other pilot programs to date span low-income families, single parents, residents returning home from prison, and artists. In these programs, payments are typically made monthly to fewer than 200 participants and range from $300-$1,000 a month. 

The Baltimore Guaranteed Income Steering Committee expects to present the pilot design recommendations to Mayor Scott for approval in late summer—and to the Mayor’s Office for Children & Family Success for implementation support starting this fall. For updates on the Baltimore guaranteed income pilot and information on guaranteed income, visit

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