Who hasn’t fantasized about what they’d do with a lottery jackpot, or other unexpected windfall? The $350 billion American Rescue Plan Act funds are distributed to states and localities throughout the U.S. like manna from heaven.
The City of Alexandria, Va. is allocating $2 million of its share of ARPA funds to test run a guaranteed income pilot where randomly selected participants will receive $500 each month for 24 months according to a WTOP News report.
Coordinated through the Department of Community and Human Services, the program dubbed Alexandria’s Recurring Income for Success and Equity will randomly select 170 applicants to receive the payments, to be spent however they choose, with no strings attached. The payments will not be taxable, but may affect other public benefits.
“ARISE will help the city test a bold, new way to ensure people have what they need to make decisions to support their well-being,” the city said in its announcement.
Alexandria’s share of the $350 billion ARPA was $59.4 million, given in two payments, one in May 2021, and the next in May 2022. The money must be spent by 2024.
The intent of this one-time ARPA funding is for the city to improve quality of life in Alexandria, for the city’s immediate recovery needs, and as a long-term investment.
There are no citizenship or work requirements for the guaranteed income pilot. Applicants need only be City of Alexandria residents, 18 years or older, and earn below 50 percent of Alexandria’s area median income.
“We are providing financial resources to individuals and families so they are empowered to decide how to best meet the needs in their lives,” said Mayor Justin Wilson. “We are creating this unique program to evolve the ways that we assist our neighbors in need of extra support.
According to the program’s frequently asked questions page, if a participant’s income exceed guidelines during the 24 month period, the cash payment would remain the same. Once selected, the cash is unconditional.
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