Pilot Expected to Launch in Late 2021
At the Monday, August 2 City Council meeting, the Council voted to authorize a contract with StepUp Durham to administer the City of Durham’s Guaranteed Income Pilot Program.
With City funding, StepUp Durham will hire a full-time coordinator dedicated to the implementation of this pilot. Through a grant from Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), 115 formerly-incarcerated individuals will be randomly selected to receive an unconditional, cash transfer of $500 per month. The pilot will last one year.
The objective of Durham’s local pilot is to evaluate guaranteed income’s effects on recidivism and re-incarceration, employment, economic security and income volatility as well as physical functioning, mental health, stress and coping, parenting, housing, and interactions with other institutional systems.
Durham’s Guaranteed Income Pilot is also part of a collective evaluation by The Center for Guaranteed Income Research (CGIR) at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. CGIR’s role is to consolidate key learnings from the pilots taking place in MGI member cities, to address knowledge gaps in the contemporary understanding of guaranteed income’s impact for Americans, and to allow the organization to layer data with anecdotal evidence in federal advocacy.
“I am so excited that the planning of this pilot is progressing as it continues to build upon the work the City has already undertaken to support individuals who are returning from incarceration,” said Mayor Steve Schewel. “StepUp Durham will be a magnificent partner and guaranteed income payments will go a long way in ensuring that individuals have a successful transition back into their families and our community. 2020 has exacerbated economic insecurity, not only for those who are system-impacted, but for many others across our city. I’m extremely proud of the many things Durham is doing to uplift vulnerable populations of residents, including this pilot program.”
Though cash payments are unconditional and not based on participation in wrap-around support, participants will be offered enrollment in StepUp Durham’s employment placement services. StepUp Durham’s employment counselors and staff will support guaranteed income recipients with job readiness training, ongoing job search, and job retention support and walk with individuals as they pursue continuing education opportunities and work alongside them to secure transitional and permanent housing.
“StepUp Durham is honored to serve in the role of Program Administrator,” said StepUp Durham Executive Director Syretta Hill. “We believe this pilot is going to have a positive impact on the city and those who participate. For many participants, these dollars will provide access to basic needs. With some of these needs met, StepUp Durham is well-positioned to partner with individuals around longer-term stability.”
More information regarding recruitment for individuals who may be eligible to participate in this pilot will be released by StepUp Durham in the coming months.
About StepUp Durham
StepUp Durham is a nonprofit organization that since 2015 has provided employment training and placement services to more than 1,000 individuals. Created with an equity and asset-based lens, StepUp Durham primarily works with low to moderate-income people to build promising futures and decrease the cycle of poverty.
About Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI)
Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI) is a network of mayors across the country committed to advancing local pilots and the national conversation around guaranteed income. A guaranteed income is a monthly, cash payment given directly to individuals. It is unconditional, with no strings attached and no work requirements. This monthly cash payment to individuals is meant to supplement, rather than replace, the existing social safety net and be a tool to close the racial and gender income gap. Since its establishment in June 2020, the coalition has created a significant increase in support for guaranteed income policy across the country.
About the Center for Guaranteed Income Research (CGIR)
The Center for Guaranteed Income Research (CGIR) is an applied research center specializing in cash-transfer research, evaluation, pilot design, and narrative change. CGIR provides mixed-methods expertise in designing and executing empirical guaranteed income studies that work alongside the existing safety net and serve as the centralized research partners for Mayors for a Guaranteed Income.