Mayor of Baltimore: A guaranteed income can improve the quality of life for families in the city of Baltimore

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We are at a powerful inflection point in the history of our city. Baltimore has so much promise, and we’re well on our way to recovering from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. But our recovery is far from over. We all know that Baltimore is the birthplace of racial discrimination and neighborhood segregation. This legacy rears its ugly head in the stark inequalities and disparities in the quality of life offered to residents of predominantly black and brown communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare this stark truth that we have ignored for too long: too many of our residents live in poverty and suffer the lasting effects of structural inequality.

According to the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance’s 2019 Vital Signs report, 31% of Baltimore city children live below the poverty line. And the inequalities are as glaring as they are real, with 61% of these children growing up in Sandtown-Winchester compared to 2% in Grand Roland Park.

But we have the power to change that.

To dismantle poverty in our city, we must change the systems and policies that contribute to negative outcomes. We must act urgently to ensure the economic security and dignity of Baltimore City residents, and we must be prepared to invest in innovative solutions, such as guaranteed income.

Rooted in a history of racial and gender justice, Guaranteed Income is an unconditional, unconditional monthly cash payment made directly to individuals. Research shows that guaranteed income projects have resulted in reduced poverty and increased income and savings. Guaranteed income has proven to be an essential tool for improving economic mobility and advancing racial and gender equity. It is an investment in the future of our city and our young families by providing them with direct support so that they can thrive.

Leveraging funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, as well as support from some of the city’s leading foundations, I recently announced the launch of Baltimore’s first official guaranteed income pilot program: Baltimore Young Families Success Fund (BYFSF ); CASH Campaign of Maryland will serve as administrator of the nonprofit program.

A guaranteed income can improve the quality of life for families in the city of Baltimore. When families have a basic income, they are better equipped to overcome material barriers, reduce food insecurity, pay childcare costs, seek employment, and support the growth of the local economy and small businesses. in their communities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed how fragile, unstable and inequitable the US economy is. Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to create a more resilient economy and financial stability for families through investments like guaranteed income. As seen with the Child Tax Credit, families could pay for childcare costs, get transportation to and from work, and keep their jobs during a national crisis that disproportionately affects color families.

Guaranteed income programs, like BYFSF, represent a commitment to a minimum standard of living for all and the idea that every child, regardless of zip code, deserves to grow up with the essential resources they need to thrive. .

This is how we unleash the power of possibility and pave the way for a brighter, brighter future for Baltimore.

Brandon M. Scott is the mayor of Baltimore.

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