Applications open for $500 per month basic income test in Tacoma

By: Graham Johnson

A lifeline is on the way for more than a hundred South Sound families struggling financially. On Monday, organizers began accepting applications for a guaranteed basic income experiment in Tacoma that will give people $500 a month to use however they need it.

The Growing Resilience in Tacoma, or GRIT, program is one of 25 basic income experiments around the country funded by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. In Tacoma, 110 people will receive $500 a month for a year.

People can apply if they’re income eligible and live in one of four Tacoma zip codes, covering much of East Tacoma, South Tacoma and the Hilltop neighborhood.

Recipients will be randomly chosen from the pool of applicants and researchers will ask them how they use the money.

The Tacoma experiment is based on a similar test in Stockton, California.

“The majority of people (in the Stockton program) spent it on basic necessities like rent and food,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards, who is part of the group Mayors for a Guaranteed Income.

Woodards predicts the Tacoma test will show why the federal government should fund a national program. “Poverty is a system failure, not a personal failure,” Woodards said. Online applications will be open until Aug.16.

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