A new guaranteed income program will give $850 dollars a month to Black women in Georgia.
An initiative entitled “In Her Hands” is launching in early 2022 will send direct, no-strings-attached payments to up to 650 Black women across the state. The program will begin in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was raised and there is great income inequality.
Poised to be on of the largest guaranteed income pilot in the country to date, the program is being led by the non-profit GiveDirectly and the Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund.
“Black women are among the most likely groups to experience cash shortfalls that make covering basic needs difficult. This isn’t the result of poor choices; it’s the result of pervasive economic insecurity that has the sharpest impacts on women and communities of color,” Hope Wollensack, executive director of the GRO Fund, said in a release, according to HuffPost. “Guaranteed income is a step toward creating a more just and equitable economy.”
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The program was named to pay homage to words spoken by Dr. King, who was a proponent of Guaranteed Income programs. In 1967 the great civil rights leaders said “the dignity of the individual will flourish when the decisions concerning his life are in his own hands.”
According to the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute (GBPI), 26 percent of Black women in the state live in poverty compared to 14 percent of their white counterparts. This is despite Black women being more likely to enter the workforce.
“Black women and Latinas are more likely to participate in the labor force compared to white women in Georgia, but they are often relegated to jobs that pay lower wages, a problem that is exacerbated by systemic pay gaps brought on by gender and racial discrimination,” a report on the GBPI website states. “Thus, it is not surprising that black women and Latinas in Georgia are about two times more likely to live in poverty than white women.”
Other guaranteed income pilots in the national and international communities have shown promising results including better health and wellness, including better mental health, increased job prospects and improved nutrition.