Data show most of guaranteed income being spent on food, clothing, city says
Shreveport shares initial findings of its Mayors for a Guaranteed Income program
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — What happens when you give 110 single parents with school-age children whose income is at or below 120% of the federal poverty line an unconditional cash payment of $660 a month for a year?
They’ll spend $358.45, or 54.31%, of that $660, at retailers and discount superstores on things like food, clothing, household goods and hygiene products.
That’s one of the initial findings of the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income program in Shreveport.
“I’m able to know that it is definitely there to help me because without it I’m struggling,” said Renodia Williams, a participant in the program. “Prices and things have been going up. So I’ve been able to manage and not fall behind on anything. It has helped me with gas money and food.”
The pilot program is a joint effort between the city, Caddo Parish and United Way of Northwest Louisiana.
“I believe that it has been a real game changer for Caddo Parish, for the city of Shreveport. It was implemented to help citizens improve their lives, and that is exactly what it has done,” District 7 Caddo Commissioner Stormy Gage-Watts said.
“No one chooses to be in poverty. It just happens to us inside of our lives and what we do need is programs like this to be ahead. Not a handout, but a hand up,” said Rashida Dawson, vice president of financial stability for United Way of NWLA.
The data released this week “... is a breakthrough for justice, equality and the guaranteed income movement. It proves that cash is an urgent solution to the failures of the American economy,” Mayor Adrian Perkins says in a news release about the program. “It’s time for leaders at every level to join us in this guaranteed income movement to finally create an economy that works for all.”
Initial data also show that participants in Shreveport’s Guaranteed Income program spent:
- the majority of funds on basic necessities like food, household goods and transportation;
- 22.27% at grocery stores;
- 6.78% on housing and utilities; and,
- 5.92% on transportation costs like gas and car repair.
Other expenses included loan repayments, medical expenses and tuition.
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