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Chicago Is the Latest U.S. City to Consider Guaranteed Income for the Poor

  • One-year test program would give $6,000 a year to 5,000 people
  • Los Angeles is largest city looking at a basic income program
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Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images
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Chicago is the latest U.S. city to consider offering guaranteed income to poor residents as it seeks to even out the economic recovery for those who suffered a disproportionate hit from the Covid-19 shutdown.

City Alderman Gilbert Villegas proposed a pilot program Wednesday to provide $500 a month for a year to 5,000 low-income residents. The money -- issued on debit cards -- would act as a form of “disaster relief” spent in the local economy for rent, food, clothing and other necessities, Villegas said. If approved, the city would pay for the program with $30 million of its $1.9 billion in American Rescue Plan funds.