300 Low-Income Residents to Receive $500 a Month From City of Atlanta in Pilot Program

Three-hundred Atlanta residents will receive $500 per month for a year as a test of a basic guaranteed income program in the city, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' office announced Tuesday.

Registration is not yet open, but the city said in a news release that those interested in registering must be over 18 and have a maximum income of 200 percent of the federal poverty line.

Applications for the program are set to open in the coming months, and the mayor's office encouraged residents to see if they qualify and join a waitlist at ulgacoaimpact.org, where the program is described in detail. Participants in the program will be chosen at random from everyone who registers.

The program is called the Income Mobility Program for Atlanta Community Transformation (IMPACT) and is a partnership between the city and the Urban League of Greater Atlanta.

"We are seizing this moment to realize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision for addressing economic security and pervasive poverty," Lance Bottoms said. "Dr. King said, 'The curse of poverty has no justification in our age.' In the spirit of Dr. King's vision for the beloved community, the launch of the I.M.P.A.C.T. program takes us another step closer to creating One Atlanta - an affordable, resilient and equitable Atlanta."

Insider published a summary in December of 33 current or recent similar programs that have given money directly to residents from governments as more cities and states have shown greater interest in the idea of universal basic incomes in recent years, although the programs have been around in various forms for decades.

Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta, Basic Income Program
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' office announced Tuesday a pilot program to send a basic income of $500 per month to 300 Atlanta residents. Above, Lance Bottoms announces that she will not seek re-election at a press conference at City Hall on May 7, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia. Elij/Getty Images

The federal poverty line eligibility requirement currently sits at $53,000 for a household of four; about $44,000 for a household of three; an estimated $35,000 for a two-person household and about $26,000 for a single individual.

Program funding includes a $2 million donation by the city to the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, who will administer the program's day-to-day operations.

The city's announcement Thursday comes amid a surge in advocacy for guaranteed income programs.

An $850 per month program aimed at Black women in Georgia by the Georgia Resilience & Opportunity Fund was also announced in December. It aims to give the money to 650 women for two years. The program will begin early in 2022 targeting women in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, whose City Council representative Amir Farokhi has been working to set up a basic income program for some time. The program will later expand to sites in southwest Georgia and metro Atlanta suburbs, officials said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.