St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter signs executive order that provides guaranteed income for families in need

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On Thursday, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter signed Executive Order 2020-24 that authorizes the creation of the People’s Prosperity Pilot, St. Paul’s Guaranteed Income Demonstration Program.

A release from the mayor’s office states the program is led by the Office of Financial Empowerment. The People’s Prosperity Pilot will provide up to 150 St. Paul families with $500 a month in guaranteed income for a period of up to 18 months.

The projected budget of up to $1.5 million will be supported through the Mayors For Guaranteed Income national network, philanthropy, and city of St. Paul CARES funds. Households will be randomly selected from CollegeBound St. Paul families from the city’s most racially diverse and lowest wealth neighborhoods.

St. Paul city councilmember Mitra Jalali said of the program, "the scale of how game-changing that would be, is not insignificant to those families it could put actual lives on a different path for the better."

The first cash payments are expected to be sent out starting this fall.

"More than ever before, this economic crisis has pushed families into crisis, struggling to maintain basic necessities for their children," said Carter during a press conference Thursday. "This demonstration pilot is an exciting new approach to support our most vulnerable families while helping build the case for permanent guaranteed income programs at state and federal levels."

The areas that will be selected from include Midway, Frogtown, Union Park, Dayton’s Bluff, Payne-Phalen, Battle Creek-Highwood, North End and Thomas-Dale.

"Current programs I see in place in some ways keep people in poverty, making it impossible for them to amass any sort of savings or to purchase homes and get themselves upward and out of poverty and I think this is a different and innovate program," said Amy Brendmoen St. Paul city councilmember and Council President.