Courtesy of City of Tacoma via Facebook

The City of Tacoma has announced that at least 100 residents experiencing poverty will get $500 a month for a year beginning this summer.

Per the United Way of Pierce County, this guaranteed income, designed to be supplemental, is unconditional, doesn’t have any work requirements, and has no strings attached. Tacoma is among 22 cities nationwide currently running or will soon run mayor-led income programs.

Before the onset of the COVID crisis, some 40 percent of Tacoma households were struggling to make ends meet — a number only exacerbated by the pandemic, according to the United Way.

The program, which is still currently in its planning stages, is part of Tacoma’s GRIT (Growing Resilience in Tacoma) efforts. According to the United Way, GRIT is an additive to local, regional, and national work seeking to improve child welfare, childcare system reform, affordable housing initiatives, poverty reduction, and the advancement of economic empowerment.

Funding for the income program comes from sources including the United Way of Pierce County, the Tacoma Housing Authority, the Tacoma Urban League, Sound Outreach, and the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation.

Program participants will be randomly selected from a pool of eligible people, the United Way said. To qualify, a recipient of the supplemental income must be a Tacoma resident, a single head of a household, and meet United Way’s ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, and Employed) criteria. The program also will put a focus on people of color, the United Way states.

“This is about more than just economics,” Washington State Department of Social and Health Services senior director Lori Pfingst told KNKX last week. “This is about dignity, letting people know that they belong and that because you’re a human being, that you have value.”

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