June 13, 2024

5,000 low-income Chicago residents to get $500 monthly for a year



The city of Chicago will soon open applications for a guaranteed basic income program supporting 5,000 low-income residents with $500 monthly issuances for a full year.

Known as the Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot, the program is a $31.5 million cash assistance plan proposed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot in 2021. The historic commitment was passed by the City Council as part of the mayor’s $16.7 billion budget, according to the Chicago Tribune.

As reported by CBS 2 Chicago, Lightfoot last week announced that the program, which will be the first of its kind in Chicago, is launching in April. Recipients will be determined through a lottery system.

Lori Lightfoot Chicago City So Real thegrio.com
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced a pilot program to provide income supplements of $500 a month and a traffic ticket forgiveness initiative to help low-income families hit hard by the pandemic. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

“Today’s announcement is all about supporting our residents who are still struggling to make ends meet,” Lightfoot stated, according to CBS 2. “Our innovative, monthly cash assistance program will help to stabilize and ensure the wellbeing of residents that have been struggling both before and during the pandemic.”

“I am dedicated to continuing to bring relief to our city’s hardest-hit communities and look forward to rolling out this new initiative as soon as possible alongside our newest fines and fees reforms and other Chicago Recovery Plan priorities,” the mayor added.

To be eligible for cash assistance, applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a minimum one year of residency in the city, have experienced COVID-19 pandemic-related economic hardship and have a household income less than 250% of the federal poverty level — or $57,575 for a family of three, the Tribune reported. 

The city will be recruiting an outside non-profit agency to run the program, and city officials will evaluate the pilot’s impact in partnership with the University of Chicago’s Inclusive Economy Lab, CBS 2 reports.

Also in April, domestic workers living in Chicago will be able to apply for one-time $500 payments through a $4.8 million program. An additional $10.7 million fund will be made available to city residents ineligible for federal relief, such as undocumented immigrants, according to the Tribune.

The Lightfoot administration is also launching two new programs aimed to support low-income motorists who are facing traffic and parking tickets.

According to CBS 2, drivers with low incomes will be able to pay off ticket debt acquired during the last three years, without additional penalties or interest. Tickets from more than three years ago will be forgiven.

“For those who enroll in the program, they can pay off any new tickets at 50% of the original penalty, and interest and other penalties will not begin to accrue until December 2023,” CBS 2 reported. 

Through another program, drivers will have 30 days after receiving a ticket for an expired city sticker or license plate sticker to purchase the decal without incurring a penalty, the television station reported.

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