Submitted by the City of Evanston
The City of Evanston and Northwestern University today announced the launch of a Guaranteed Income Pilot Program, which will provide 150 households in Evanston with direct monthly financial assistance for one year.
This year-long pilot program will offer monthly payments to Evanston households to supplement the existing social safety net. Once a month for a year, participants will each receive $500 loaded onto a prepaid debit card to spend as they see fit.
The program is funded largely by Northwestern University and the City of Evanston, including $700,000 in federal Rescue Plan funds. Evanston Community Foundation is also a partner.
“Evanston is proud to join the growing Guaranteed Income movement. These programs provide assistance with no strings attached, giving recipients the ability to spend the funds in the way that makes the most sense for them and their families,” Mayor Daniel Biss said. “Thank you to Northwestern University and the Evanston Community Foundation, and to former Council Member Cicely Fleming for advancing the plan to utilize ARPA funding for this pilot.”
“Northwestern is thrilled to partner with the City of Evanston to launch the City’s first Guaranteed Income Pilot Program,” said Dave Davis, NU’s senior executive director of Neighborhood and Community Relations. “Northwestern is committed to fostering innovative solutions to our city’s most pressing challenges, namely inequality and economic insecurity. Guaranteed Income programs treat recipients with dignity in determining how best to spend the money.”
The innovative partnership between the city and university is part of a growing movement to study the impact of guaranteed income and will include a research component, providing Northwestern researchers the chance to measure the impact of the program and learn about participants’ experiences. At the same time, the research project ensures compliance with state law to allow program participants to maintain most public assistance benefits they may already be receiving.
“This guaranteed income program will do so much more than offer $500 per month to 150 residents: it will reimagine, humanize and strengthen the social safety net; it will also reshape the relationship between people and their government,” said Director of Economic Security for Illinois Harish I. Patel. “In our work to advocate for direct cash payments, we have found the City of Evanston eager to move toward progressive policy solutions that meet families’ material needs without over-burdening them. We hope their announcement today will inspire more cities across Illinois to adopt similar programs.”
To be eligible, participants must live in Evanston, live in a household whose income is at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Line, and fit into one of the groups below:
- Adults 18-24 years old
- Adults 62 years old and older
- Undocumented community members
How to apply
The application period will be open from Aug. 15 through Aug. 29. Community members should visit cityofevanston.org/gi to learn more about the program and to apply.
Following the application period, 150 applicants will be chosen through a lottery system to participate.
In addition to visiting the website, those interested in learning more can do so by attending one of three in-person community information sessions.
- 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17 at Fleetwood Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St.
- 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18 at the Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Ave.
- 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20 at Robert Crown Community Center, 1801 Main St.
For assistance filling out the application, city staff will be available during select times at community centers throughout Evanston. To view a schedule and location list, visit cityofevanston.org/gi. For more information or please call/text 847-448-4311 or simply dial 311 in Evanston.