By Kiki Intarasuwan
Paterson officials say 110 residents who applied to the program will be randomly selected to receive monthly guaranteed income regardless of their employment status
Universal basic income is coming to a city in New Jersey but only for select residents, for now.
Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh on Thursday announced the launch of a pilot program called Guaranteed Income where 110 people will be given $400 in cash payments each month for one year regardless of their employment status. Sayegh said similar programs have been a huge success in other cities in providing people with extra help.
“There’s a story of the matriarch of a family, and all she ever wanted to do was host a Thanksgiving dinner for her entire family,” Sayegh gave an example to reporters at a news conference. “She was precluded by the fact that she had economic constraints. She participated in the program a few years ago, for the first time ever, her whole family was over for Thanksgiving.”
Sayegh is among more than 40 mayors who have joined Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, with others planning projects of their own.
After such a program was implemented in Stockton, California, in 2019, a study later showed that employment rates increased and people who received $500 per month reported lower rates of anxiety and depression.
Forty percent of the city’s 125 recipients got full-time jobs and some paid off their debts, the Associated Press reported.
To qualify for the Paterson test program, applicants have to be a city resident who’s 18 years old or older, according to the city’s website. Only those with an individual income limit of $30,000 or a family income limit of $88,000 are eligible to apply.
Applications will officially open on April 12, and the deadline to apply is April 30.