Hundreds of Black women in Georgia soon could be getting roughly $800 a month as part of a new initiative to boost financial stability, mental health, and address the racial wealth gap.
Georgia Resilience and Opportunity (GRO) Fund and nonprofit GiveDirectly recently announced plans to give up to 650 Black women in the Peach State $850 a month in cash for two years — no strings attached — as part of a new program called “In Her Hands.”
Scheduled to launch as early as top of next year, the initiative looks to distribute more than $13 million. According to Huffington Post, it may be the largest guaranteed-income pilot program in the nation.
Members of the GRO Fund, many of whom are local elected officials, hope that with the unconditional cash offerings, individuals selected will not only see a financial difference in their lives but a shift in their mental health as well. The first round of funding will reportedly go out to participants located in Atlanta, more specifically in its Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, where income inequality is very pronounced.
The program moved forward with Black women because their group “face more economic insecurity as a result of systemic barriers like pay inequality and fewer economic buffers than nearly any other demographic in Georgia,” according to a statement on their website.
The organization highlighted how Black women have been affected especially at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic where it’s reported that they were more likely than any other group to face job loss and eviction. According to a report from the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, an estimated 26 percent of Black women live in poverty in the U.S. compared to 14 percent of their white peers.
“Black women are among the most likely groups to experience cash shortfalls that make covering basic needs difficult. This isn’t the result of poor choices; it’s the result of pervasive economic insecurity that has the sharpest impacts on women and communities of color,” Hope Wollensack, executive director of the GRO Fund, said in a release. “Guaranteed income is a step toward creating a more just and equitable economy.”
At the time the organization is not taking any new applicants as their programs “are targeted to specific populations, who are then invited to participate in a program.
Similar guaranteed income programs have shown promising results in the past in places like India, Finland, and Kenya. In 2019, as part of the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) pilot program, initiated by former Mayor Michael Tubbs, 125 people in the California city, who lived in neighborhoods at or below the city’s median household income of $46,033 received $500 per month for 24 months.
A study released earlier this year on the first year’s result showed that beneficiaries were able to obtain full-time jobs twice as fast as non-recipients and were less anxious and depressed over time. In addition, they expressed improvements in their emotional health and well-being.
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