Birmingham pilot program will guarantee income of $375 a month for 110 single mothers

By Greg Garrison

Birmingham is planning a pilot program to offer a “guaranteed income” to 110 single mothers in the city.

Under the plan, selected beneficiaries would receive monthly payments of $375.

The guaranteed income plan for single women raising children is promoted by Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, a non-profit corporation based in California.

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday adopted the plan, submitted by Mayor Randall Woodfin.

“I want to thank the council for working alongside me to see the Embrace Mothers pilot program become a reality,” Woodfin said. “This is an opportunity to further our commitment to innovative solutions designed to improve the economic standing for our residents. Women and mothers specifically are the nucleus of our families and communities. By putting financial resource into homes, we not only improve the outcomes for women but for children and the greater community at large. I am proud that Birmingham is the first city in Alabama to take this approach in partnership with MGI.”

The Penny Foundation will be paid $40,000 to administer the program, receiving a $500,000 grant from Mayors for a Guaranteed Income and distributing the money to recipients through debit cards.

East Lake Initiative will receive $10,000 from the city to provide benefits counseling to the 110 recipients, including advising them on how it would affect any other benefits they are eligible for. The Embrace Mothers program is intended to supplement, not replace, any existing benefits.

No timetable was given for when the plan will go into effect or how single women raising children under 18 will be chosen, but applications could be accepted as early as November or December.

More than 20 cities are receiving grants to implement the pilot program.

“It’s a good approach, certainly, if we can reach the people who need to be reached,” said City Council member Steven Hoyt, who joined in a unanimous vote for the plan in his last meeting on the council. Hoyt did not run for re-election after serving on the council since 2009. Council member John Hilliard, on the council since 2017, and Council President William Parker, on the council since 2013, both lost their bids for re-election in the Oct. 5 runoff and also rotate off the council before the next City Council meeting next Tuesday.

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