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Ann Arbor guaranteed income program targets low-income people who make ends meet with side gigs

The City of Ann Arbor will offer $528 a month, no strings attached, for two years to successful applicants to a guaranteed income, poverty-fighting program for people with side hustles.

If you're a low-income resident of Ann Arbor — and make ends meet with jobs on the side — you may be eligible to apply for a program that's giving people $528 a month, for two years.

Ann Arbor set aside $1.6 million of its American Rescue Plan funding for the guaranteed income project.

The city will randomly select 100 of the eligible applicants to receive the guaranteed payment, which comes with no strings attached, except for answering questions on three surveys about how the money was used.

It's motivated by a social welfare philosophy that the best way to help struggling households is to simply give them cash.

The city says many side jobs will qualify, as long as the applicant meets the income limits — 225% of the federal poverty level or below — including entrepreneurs, self-employed people, Uber drivers or food delivery workers, owners of formal or informal small businesses such as baby-sitting, hair and nail services, gig workers, and people with side hustles.

Applications will be accepted starting October 2 and continuing through October 13. The program will be managed by University of Michigan Poverty Solutions.

More details on eligibility and how the program works are available on the Guaranteed Income to Grow Ann Arbor website, www.giga2.org.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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