Montgomery County will be the first in Maryland to launch a guaranteed basic income pilot program

By Jack Pointer

Original article:

Montgomery County will be the first in Maryland to launch a guaranteed-income pilot program.

On Tuesday, the County Council unanimously approved a $2 million special appropriation that will help fund the public-private partnership. A $1 million grant from the Meyer Foundation will also help fund it.

As part of the pilot, 300 households will receive no-strings-attached monthly payments of $800 over the course of two years.

“A collaborative planning effort is underway to determine how people will be enrolled into this pilot program,” the county said in a statement Tuesday.

Similar programs are now underway in Arlington County, Virginia, as well as in nearby Alexandria and dozens of other cities nationwide. They’re intended not only to alleviate poverty, but also to assist families in exiting it.

“The belief that people have the ability to make the best choices to improve their economic position has shown to be true in case after case,” said Council member Will Jawando, who is a lead sponsor of the funding.

Back before the pandemic in 2018, an estimated 47% of Montgomery County’s renting households were rent burdened (i.e., paying over 30% of income for housing). County leaders hope the pilot program provides needed help for such households, whose struggles have worsened since the pandemic began.

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