Mayor Ras J. Baraka today reiterated his support for the City of Newark creating a Guaranteed Basic Income for all residents. In doing so, he cited the powerful economic impact the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is creating, on top of the dire health issue.
“The economic upheaval caused by Coronavirus – people losing jobs, tenants facing eviction, homeowners in danger of foreclosure, has confirmed something that we’ve already known: Americans need more cash in their hands. The urgency to provide that cash—as the legislation recently approved Congress would do—is an emergency measure to help stabilize families whose lives and finances have been upended by this crisis. Yet there has long been an epidemic of families living paycheck to paycheck—one unexpected bill or drop in wages, can find families in their own crisis. The need for cash will be ongoing—and so, too, must be our response,” the Mayor said.
In last year’s State of the City Address, Mayor Baraka announced he was launching Newark’s Guaranteed Income Task Force to explore how a guaranteed income—regular, unconditional infusions of cash could advance the needs of city residents. Newark’s composition is not unique to other urban communities. 78% of its residents are renters, median rents are up 20%, while median income has been down 10% since 2000. Newark’s median income is less than $40,000 a year, while United Way of Greater Newark estimates that a family must make $63,000 a year to meet basic needs.
Mayor Baraka pointed to other municipalities that have launched similar initiatives, like Stockton, Calif., where Mayor Michael Tubbs began the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) in 2019 to provide $500 a month for 18 months to 125 low-income residents. Aisha Nyandoro, Executive Director of Springboard to Opportunities in Jackson, Miss., was also highlighted. She launched the Magnolia Mother’s Trust (MMT) in 2018 to provide $1,000 a month for 12 months to 20 Black women living in public housing. Both initiatives are proving highly successful.
To read Mayor Baraka’s message, please visit: https://www.newarknj.gov/news/mayor-baraka-op-ed-on-universal-basic-income
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