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Ann Arbor to start a guaranteed income pilot project

pile of one dollar bills
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
It costs a lot of money to go to college.

The City of Ann Arbor will give monthly cash payments to a group of about 100 low-income households, using $1.6 million of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

The pilot project will focus on people who supplement their income with nontraditional, entrepreneurial side gigs, such as babysitting, Uber food delivery, or odd jobs.

Kristin Seefeldt is with Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan. The group will manage the project. She said there are many similar guaranteed income pilot projects across the country, and so far, research shows the impacts are positive.

"Some skeptics of guaranteed income really worry that, well if you just give people money, they won't work. That's not the case. Employment isn't negatively affected," she said. "We also know that people are spending it on things they need, like their bills and groceries."

People getting the cash payments will receive $528 a month for two years. For research purposes, they'll be compared to a similar group of entrepreneurial lower-income households that don't get the payments.

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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