NEWARK, NJ – A pilot guaranteed income program launched by Newark Mayor, Ras Baraka in May to provide financial assistance to a select group of people, was popularized by a majority of residents, according to a recent survey commissioned by a Newark-based nonprofit organization supports project ready.
More than three-quarters of Newarkers (77%) support the concept of a guaranteed basic income program for the city, while 14% of residents oppose the idea, according to the survey.
The results come just weeks after the city launched a two-year pilot program that randomly selected 400 Newark residents ages 18 and older with household incomes 200% below the state poverty line, a total of 12,000 each US dollar pays.
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“We applaud the mayor [Ras] Baraka for piloting a program that will change the lives of hundreds of Newark residents and their families, ”said Shennell McCloud, Executive Director of Project Ready. “We hope this survey shows that there is significant support for expanding this program to serve more Newark residents.”
The survey also found that support for the Universal Basic Income was widespread but was particularly strong in several key constituencies, including parents of school-age children (86%) and black residents (84%).
Support was strongest among residents who earned less than $ 50,000 per year (86%), but also among residents who earned more than $ 100,000 per year (72%).
The poll was conducted online May 15-20, using online dynamic sampling technology and text messaging to obtain a sample of registered voters. Change Research, a San Francisco-based data collection group, interviewed 1,215 people in New Jersey.
This included an over-sampling of 343 Newark voters, according to Project Ready. After stratification, weights were made by age, gender, political region, education, the 2020 vote, and race and ethnicity to reflect the distribution of voters across the country.
The idea of an income pilot program was first raised by Baraka in 2019 and welcomed in the city where more than a third of the population lives below the poverty line. While the Universal Basic Income is a government benefit that aims to reduce income inequality through direct cash injections, guaranteed income is often sought after.
Baraka is a member of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, a national group established to support the concept of providing this type of direct aid to residents.
To gradually expand the program, city officials launched the Newark Movement for Economic Equity at City Hall last month, beginning a two-year research study. The city will start with an initial group of 30 residents before scaling up to 400 residents in the fall.
“We’ll analyze that in the end,” said Baraka during a press conference. “We want to be able to push through political changes at the state and federal level.”
City officials will first recruit a group of residents who will work closely with more than 30 nonprofit and city departments to identify individuals who will qualify for the program. This participatory process will give residents of each of the city’s five districts the opportunity to participate in the program.
Once selected, participants will receive $ 6,000 per year for two years, with half receiving payments bi-weekly and half receiving payments twice a year.
The process is examined and deepened in research on the design of an unconditional cash policy at the state and federal level. The pilot will target a range of residents facing housing insecurity, including undocumented, newly housed and formerly homeless, formerly incarcerated and youth aging outside the care system.
Following the release of a report last year led by the Jain Family Institute and the Economic Security Project, the joint approach helped the city identify $ 2.2 million in private funding for the Victoria Foundation-led program.
“The program will enable Newarkers to make decisions about how to improve their lives with dignity,” said Hawwa Muhammad, program manager of The Newark Movement for Economic Equity. “Having the choice of working more hours bringing food to the table or working less hours to care for a loved one is not a choice. Those are obligations.”