AUSTIN, Texas — Financial help could be on the way for Austin families facing hard times. The economy has been through a roller coaster of crises since 2020, and families are still struggling to make ends meet.
But come Thursday, the Austin City Council will deliberate approving Austin’s first guaranteed income program. If council members agree, there will be a contract sign-off with the California-based nonprofit UpTogether for it to oversee the program.
Eighty-five families could receive $1,000 every month in the next year. The first year of the program would basically be a trial to see how impactful the program is when in action.
Last year's budget negotiations included Austin City Council’s $1.18 million commitment to the guaranteed income program.
During a Monday morning roundtable, Mayor Steve Adler said, “The Austin pilot is going to focus on families that are housing insecure, probably families that are facing or near eviction, perhaps… Because we know that it is so expensive for our community to deal with folks once they have lost their housing.”
Given the rise is housing costs, families who are more at risk of an eviction will be of priority to avoid an increase in homelessness.
In Stockton, California, positive results arose from a similar income program where 125 families were selected to receive $500 monthly payments. Data found a reduce in income volatility, a change in all-around health, additional time to find full-time work, etc.
If all works out, the Austin-based program could begin in late May or June.