Fairfax County in Virginia to Launch Guaranteed Basic Income Program

Fairfax County in Virginia to Launch Guaranteed Basic Income Program
Fairfax County in Virginia to Launch Guaranteed Basic Income Program

By Beth Lawton

See original post here.

Fairfax County will be piloting a guaranteed income program for residents in select ZIP codes, offering $750 per month to 180 families for 15 months starting in 2024.

The Fairfax County Economic Mobility Pilot will provide payments to eligible households, optional financial coaching and resources to promote economic stability.

The pilot, similar to a program operating in Alexandria right now, includes freedom of choice for the families to use the money in any way they deem necessary. 

Fairfax County officials have set out the following requirements for the program:

  • Participants must be employed.
  • They must have at least one child aged 16 or younger living in the household.
  • They must have an income that falls between 150% and 250% of the 2023 Federal Poverty Level (currently $30,000 for a family of four).
  • They must live in a neighborhood in one of the following Zip Codes: 22306, 22309, 20190, 20191, 22041, 20170, 22003, 22150, 20120 or 20151.

The application portal will be open Sept. 23 – Oct. 3, 2023. 

Funding for the program will be provided by Fairfax County General Fund dollars along with American Recovery Plan Act funding, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. The possibility of philanthropic donations is also being explored, according to county officials. 

Learn more about the program at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/neighborhood-community-services/economicmobilitypilot.

In the City of Alexandria, 170 residents were selected early this year for the Alexandria Recurring Income for Success and Equity (ARISE), Alexandria’s guaranteed income initiative. The program is providing the chosen households with $500 per month for two years.

Guaranteed income pilot programs are starting all across the United States: In Los Angeles, for example, a program called BIG:LEAP is giving 3,200 residents $1,000 per month for one year. In Chicago, the Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot program is giving 5,000 people $500 per month for one year. A Rochester, New York program gave 351 residents $500 per month for 12 months.

Similar to the outcomes of other guaranteed income pilot programs nationwide, ARISE participants are spending their $500 each month mostly on basic necessities. The primary spending category is groceries.

A single father who is participating in the ARISE program has said the programs allows him “Time to think for tomorrow,” he told city officials. “The repeating cycle of going to work and sleep and go back to work prevented me from thinking [about] long term goals.” He used to work two jobs, which was negatively affecting his relationship with his kids.

“Now, I have the freedom to quit my second job. ARISE gave me the freedom to have time to think for tomorrow.  My kids know me better now since I get to spend time with them,” he said.

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