Jan 24, 2024 - News

Denver basic income project gets cash infusion to expand

Illustration of a tiny woman looking up a giant dollar staircase

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than 800 people will continue receiving cash payments after the city directed $2 million more in pandemic aid toward the Denver Basic Income experiment.

What's happening: The city's cash infusion, combined with $3 million from the Colorado Trust and an anonymous foundation, will extend the project six months and enable it to add 39 additional participants, organizers announced Tuesday.

  • Denver has now provided $4 million to the project since its launch in 2021. Mayor Mike Johnston backed the additional spending.

Why it matters: The project claims to be the largest in the nation providing universal basic income to people experiencing homelessness, and has provided $6.5 million in no-strings-attached payments to date.

The backstory: As a part of the study, one group received a one-time $6,500 payment and $500 a month for 11 months, while another received $1,000 a month for a year.

  • A third control group received $50 a month.

The latest: In the next phase, organizers are changing how much money participants receive. The first two groups will now get $1,000 a month for six months and the control group will receive $100 a month for the same period.

  • The payments stopped for a brief period but will return in February. The increases in cash came after the project boosted its fundraising.

The intrigue: An interim report issued in October, building on prior research, found the guaranteed income led to increased housing and fewer people sleeping outside and in shelters.

  • In addition, more participants found full-time employment.

Yes, but: Lack of food and mental health remained consistent challenges.


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