ROCHESTER, N.Y. — In her final act as Rochester's mayor, Lovely Warren says she has submitted legislation to Rochester City Council to create a Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) pilot program.

This comes as the mayor's time in office comes to end, having announced her resignation in October, effective Dec. 1, after pleading guilty to violating election law. Warren agreed to resign as part of a plea deal. 

Warren says this program would, in its first year, provide $500 a month to 175 families in the city of Rochester who live at, or below, 200% of the federal poverty line. In the second year, 175 different families would be provided with a GBI of $500 per month.

“The quickest path for Rochester families to escape poverty and build generational wealth is through the establishment of a guaranteed basic income,” Warren said in a statement. “While the City alone cannot achieve this goal for all of our families, we can demonstrate the powerful impact that a guaranteed basic income would provide. My hope is that a successful pilot would spur our community’s non-profits, private donors and, ultimately, other levels of government, to embrace this effort and make guaranteed basic income a cornerstone in our efforts to achieve equity.”

Warren says the pilot program would cost $2.2 million. The outgoing mayor says you must be 18 years or older or an emancipated adult, and must be a current resident of the city of Rochester with at least one year of established residency, to benefit from the program. 

“I have always believed that the best way to improve our entire community is to lift up those who are struggling to succeed,” Warren said. “By improving the lives of Rochester’s poorest families and providing a path towards equity, we ultimately will improve the economic wellbeing of all of Rochester and beyond.”

Warren says the pilot program is an eligible use of the American Rescue Plan Act funding, of which Rochester received $202.1 million from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund established by the ARPA.

Warren says the program will be considered by Rochester City Council during the December legislative cycle.


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