City Cast

Inside Chicagoland Guaranteed Income

Sidney Madden
Sidney Madden
Posted on July 10
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle talking in December 2021 about a guaranteed income pilot. (Brian Cassella / Tribune / Getty)

With final payments from the city’s guaranteed income pilot expected to go out this month, we’re diving into how the cash assistance has affected residents.

First, what is guaranteed income?

It’s a regular cash payment — with no strings attached — to eligible groups of people, City Bureau reported. The cash can help families in need of immediate assistance.

What are some Chicagoland programs helping low-income residents?

  • The Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot will have provided $500 a month to about 5,000 residents over the last year.
  • The Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot is giving 3,250 households $500 a month over two years, ending December 2024.

Who is funding these programs?

The city and county pilots are funded by COVID relief money while some private philanthropic organizations enact their own programs.

How’re people benefitting?

The programs help with everyday expenses, but it won't solve everything, experts and participants said. And they want the programs to last longer.

So what’s next?

Cook County is committed to a permanent program, a spokesperson said. Mayor Brandon Johnson also said he was committed to expanding the city’s pilot program.

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