25 North Nashville Families Will Receive $1,000 Monthly Payments So Researchers Can Study The Impact

Selected families in the 37208 zip code will be eligible for Nashville's first guaranteed income pilot. Photo credit: Samantha Max/ WPLN News


The group Moving Nashville Forward has raised money for the city’s first guaranteed income pilot study. They plan to give 25 North Nashville families a $1,000 monthly payment for 10 months, and researchers will study the impact.

Families living in the 37208 zip code making less than $40,000 a year can apply to take part in the pilot program. Applications will open in October.

Many of the residents in the 37208 will be eligible to participate — Census data from 2019 shows the median income of residents is just shy of $40,000, and the poverty rate is more than double the average for the rest of the region.

Researchers at the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania will randomly select 25 families to participate. Then, along with the Nashville Economic Justice Alliance, they will conduct interviews and surveys of participants.

They will also assess overall community wellbeing by gathering data on incidents of violence and domestic violence, and on the recipients’ ability to overcome stressful financial situations.

“A guaranteed basic income could be a solution and a step towards solving a lot of the issues that we experience in our area,” says Jamel Campbell-Gooch.

Community organizer Jamel Campbell-Gooch leads a protest in North Nashville. Photo credit: Paige Pfleger/ WPLN News

Campbell-Gooch helped found Moving Nashville Forward while he was an employee of the grassroots restorative justice organization, Gideon’s Army. He says the idea grew from tornado recovery efforts.

Now Moving Nashville Forward is its own standalone group, headed by Campbell-Gooch and other Nashville natives.

Nashville is one of several cities that are piloting similar programs, but Campbell-Gooch say this one stands out for being grassroots.

“Nashville is the only one — the only one — that is people-led, people-driven, and financed directly from donations from everyday people,” he says.

They will continue raising funds in hopes of including more families in a second, larger trial program.

He says the eventual goal is for Moving Nashville Forward and the Nashville Economic Justice Alliance to work together to fund a permanent, guaranteed basic-income program through the city budget.

“We want this to be a longterm change for Nashville,” he says.

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