City of Shreveport starts accepting applications for basic income program

Published: Jan. 8, 2022 at 6:20 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2022 at 8:39 AM CST
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The City of Shreveport opened the application process Monday, Jan. 10 for the Shreveport Universal Basic Income (UBI) Program.

The pilot program is a joint effort between the city, the Parish of Caddo and United Way of Northwest Louisiana.

“I believe this program gives people the boots they need to pull themselves up,” said the Rev. Brandon Keith Lacey Sr., senior pastor at New Life Full Gospel House of Worship.

The application period will last from 8 a.m. Jan. 10 through 11:59 p.m. Jan. 17. Those interested in applying can click here.

Out of those eligible, 110 families will be selected to receive $660 a month for a year.

Applicants must be Shreveport residents who are single parents with an incomes below 120% of the federal poverty level. The program defines a single parent as a mother, father, stepparent, grandparent, caregiver or legal guardian with a school-age child. The resident must be functionally single, whether married or unmarried. If unmarried, the resident cannot be living with a partner.

“We’re no longer in a society where people can live with one job,” Lacey said. “A lot of people are out here working two and three jobs.”

He calls this program an investment into Shreveport families and the community as a whole.

“An estimated 25 percent of the citizens in Shreveport are living in poverty and a guaranteed income would empower recipients to address their most urgent day to day needs and unpredictable expenses. UBI with the resources at the Shreveport Financial Empowerment Center would create a catalyst for better educational outcomes, substantive improvements in physical and mental health, significant reduction of predatory debt, and greater confidence in having basic necessities met.”

Mayor Adrian Perkins

Mayor Adrian Perkins joined Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI) in 2020. The coalition of mayors is committed to advancing a federal guaranteed income – direct, recurring cash payments to the poor and middle class. A guaranteed income is a monthly, unconditional cash payment given directly to randomly selected families or individuals.

The Shreveport City Council approved a resolution to receive $500,000 from MGI for the program, and the Caddo Parish Commission approved the appropriation of $432,000 for matching funds.

“It’s important for me to support low-income, single-parent households with school-aged children who often struggle to make ends meet. Many people work and still don’t have enough funds to cover basic necessities. During these difficult times, it’s advantageous that we as leaders provide as much hope as possible to help our communities. I consider this pilot program as an investment tool. Especially for those who don’t qualify for additional assistance. Providing additional income without restrictions could assist a single parent to help pay for expenses to finish their education. Perhaps relieve stress of not having adequate funds to pay their bills. Or even assist a child with musical instruments, out of pocket medical needs, dance classes, uniforms/fees. The possibilities are endless and my colleagues and I are honored to partner with this initiative to help improve the quality of life of our citizens in Caddo Parish.”

Caddo Parish Commissioner Stormy Gage-Watts

For those who need assistance completing the application, United Way’s Financial Empowerment Center will be accepting walk-ins from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday. The only day they will not be available is the last day of the application period, which is Monday, Jan. 17, due to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

In-person assistance will also be provided from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Jan. 11 at Airport Park Recreation Center, and from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 13 at David Raines Recreation Center.

Selected participants will be contacted around three weeks after the application period ends.

The City of Shreveport would not make a comment Monday and asked its partners in the program not to interview with KSLA. It plans to hold a news conference Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.

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