RBAC launched a Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) pilot with support from the office of King County District 2 office and Council Member Girmay Zahilay.
When we were approached to pilot a guaranteed basic income program for Rainier Beach households we jumped at the chance. We know that most American households do not have $400 saved to deal with an emergency. The idea of giving our purchasing power directly to citizens to disrupt poverty has proven to be effective. We do get the idea that guaranteed basic investment is probably better and its advocates can count on us taking up that cause soon. However, participating in this pilot supported an economic development strategy of RBAC’s, and that is “getting money in the pocket of vulnerable residents, particularly young adults”. We also want to be a part of the movement that adds legitimacy to the idea of a guaranteed basic income. Five households with a cross-section of characteristics were selected – a college student (yes they need income too especially if they want to focus on their studies), a young adult single head of household, two families of eight, and a senior citizen. Each month, feedback is obtained from the participants to learn about their experiences. The feedback about how they spent their GBI after two months of participation included paying off debt, rent, replacing old and broken appliances, and purchasing a nursing uniform for school.
Three of the five households said they were able to save funds for the future, five of the five households said that receiving GBI funds is positively impacting their family. We asked what their future financial plans are and some of what was said included getting their first credit card and building credit, opening up an individual investment account, paying a car loan, and being consistent with a solid budget.
RBAC’s economic development strategy is born out of the ideas, desires, and needs of Rainier Beach residents. What you are reading here and what the families are experiencing is what comes from efforts like these. To further solidify the legitimacy of this pilot operators (RBAC and Urban Family) are tapping in some UW scholars to interview the families to learn about the pilot’s operations and gain more in-depth insight about the households’ experiences. We will keep you updated on the pilots’ progress. This is how RBAC is empowering families and moving Rainier Beach forward”.