Low-Income Chicago Families Could Get $500 per Month in Pilot Program

Low-Income Chicago Families Could Get $500 per Month in Pilot Program chicago mayor lori lightfoot looks on with wide eyes Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By Jay Clemons | Thursday, 14 April 2022 02:18 PM

The City of Chicago will soon launch a program that supplies $500 monthly payments to low-income families affected by COVID-19.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday the initial phase of the venture will assist 5,000 low-income households within the city as part of the Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot program.

Eligible families can submit applications for the pilot project from April 25 to May 13.

As currently structured, this project could be one of the biggest cash-assistance programs in the United States. The applicants considered will come from households that are at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Level thresholds.

The eligible households will then be placed into a lottery which prioritizes people in poverty, and those with preexisting financial hardships.

"The Chicago Resilient Communities pilot is a way for us to efficiently support the communities and households that were hardest hit by the pandemic with dignity, as well as build on our work to eradicate poverty," Lightfoot wrote in a statement.

This program shares similar traits to the Universal Basic Income proposal from 2020, suggested by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Back then, Yang wanted to provide all U.S. adults with regular $1,000 monthly payments.

The Chicago project could also be construed as an extension of last year's federally funded Paycheck Protection Program, which helped millions of companies and individual contractors survive the fallout of the COVID-related economic shutdowns of 2020 and parts of 2021, through forgivable loans (when eligible).

Detroit officials have reportedly explored the benefits of implementing a two-year program, where 125 city-based families at or below the poverty level would receive $500 per month, according to WXYZ-TV in Detroit.

And, earlier this month, Los Angeles County began accepting applications for the "Breathe" program, which provides 1,000 eligible families — selected at random — with $1,000 monthly payments for three years.

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