Atlanta to give cash to some poor residents to ease poverty

November 28, 2021 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta city leaders are planning pilot programs that will give cash directly to small groups of low-income residents in hopes of lifting them out of poverty.

The idea behind guaranteed income programs is to alleviate poverty, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Pilot projects have taken off in cities from Los Angeles and Stockton, California, to Columbia, South Carolina, the newspaper reported.

In Atlanta, the initiatives were spearheaded by outgoing Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and City Councilman Amir Farokhi, the newspaper reported.

One of the programs is expected to launch by the end of this 2021. It will provide $500 month to at least 275 low-income recipients for a year.

“What we know is $500 for a family that’s living below the margins, in terms of income and poverty levels, can be life-changing,” Bottoms said.

The other program will initially target the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. Farokhi said this effort will be focused on Black women because they’ve been disproportionately hurt by the pandemic.

“The great promise here is that folks actually know how to best spend their dollars,” said Farokhi, who co-founded a task force that studied guaranteed income.

Skeptics say the concept could be counterproductive when implemented on a larger scale. Others warn that it could be an incentive for people not to work.

But Bottoms pushes back against such criticism.

“This is not handing people a check for them to stay home,” Bottoms said in a recent interview. “This is providing people resources to help care for their families, to address food insecurity, to help allow people to be able to afford to live in the city of Atlanta.”