About 650 Black women across Georgia who live in poverty are slated to receive payments of $850 per month over two years in one of several guaranteed income experiments across the county, ABC News reports.
The In Her Hands program will operate alongside Atlanta’s basic income initiative launched by the city’s former Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. The city’s pilot will serve 300 residents who are at least 18 years old and live below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, $53,000 for a family of four.
Similar guaranteed income programs are popping up in several cities across the country that seek to reduce poverty and address the racial income gap.
According to the Associated Press, more than 50 mayors around the country joined Mayors for a Guaranteed Income. They include Mayor Adrian Perkins of Shreveport and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell in Louisiana, Mayor Randall Woodfin in Birmingham, Ala., and Mayor Chokwe Lumumba in Jackson, Miss.
“This is not handing people a check for them to stay home. This is providing people resources to help care for their families, to address food insecurity, to help allow people to be able to afford to live in the city of Atlanta,” the AJC quoted Bottoms.
The racial income gap is stark, according to a study by the Old Fourth Ward Economic Task Force. About 38 percent of Black women and 26 percent of Black men in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward district live in poverty, compared to 8 percent of white women and 5 percent of white men in the same neighborhood.
Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund oversees the In Her Hands project, which is an initiative from the Atlanta City Council and the nonprofit cash assistance service GiveDirectly, according to ABC News.
The project tackles the racial and gender wealth gap by supporting Black women experiencing economic insecurity and by “generating and disseminating insights to promote more racially inclusive, just, and sustainable social safety net models and policies in the US,” the organization’s website states.
"It'll take a multifaceted approach -- and probably many different policies -- to even begin to address the racial wealth gap," ABC News quoted Georgia Resilience’s Executive Director Hope Wollensack.
She continued, “But we do know that stabilizing one's income can be a powerful tool not only to improve one's material circumstances in the short term and to improve quality of life and opportunities but also to enable individuals across the board to plan for the long term."