Exploring Mayor Lightfoot's proposal for Chicago basic income

Gary basic income program already exists

ByKay Cesinger via WLS logo
Sunday, September 26, 2021
Our Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- When she presented her budget, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot proposed a program that would give $500 a month to 5,000 low-income households for one year.

The city said it would help those who were hit hard by the pandemic and are in need of additional economic stability.

A similar program is already happening in Gary.

SEE MORE: Gary launches guaranteed income program experiment for 1 year

The city's mayor, Jerome Prince, has said this pilot program is about compassion and expanding the safety net for 125 residents who were selected to take part.

"GIVE", The Guaranteed Income Validation Effort, is facilitating that program.

Our Chicago Part 1

Executive Director Burgess Peoples said there's a mix of people taking part, "seniors, singles, individuals with babies, without babies, those that are working but are making below or at the minimum wage or below the minimum wage, and of course, we have some retired individuals on here."

They must be 18 years or older and make $35,000 or less.

Our Chicago Part 2

And while some people might think an additional $500 a month wouldn't have a big impact, those taking part in Gary's pilot program disagree.

"They're like '$500 is a lot of money; $500 keeps a roof over my head. The $500 is helping me learn to budget what I have because I never had a cushion. The $500 allowed me to get my car fixed, so I can go to work and make more money because my attendance has gone up.'"

Some recipients said, for the first time, they're able to take their families on vacation and enroll their children in extra-curricular activities.