KVUE — On Thursday, May 5, the Austin City Council approved on consent a program that would identify dozens of families in the city and give them $1,000 per month, no strings attached.
Council members discussed the pilot program on Thursday, April 21. According to the item on their posted meeting agenda, the vote would authorize the negotiation and execution of a contract with UpTogether, a nonprofit out of California.
According to a report from the Austin American-Statesman, the council declined to authorize the plan in April and instead elected to accept a two-week delay to again consider it on May 5.
The plan directs UpTogether to distribute no more than a total of $1,180,000 to needy families for one year as part of the pilot program. The nonprofit helps connect underprivileged communities with the resources they need to thrive economically and socially.
According to the memo sent by the City of Austin's chief equity officer on May 2, the potential selection process for eligible families was outlined. The office may use the following criteria to determine which families to choose:
- Households with an eviction filing against them.
- Households with a pattern of missed utility bill payments.
- People experiencing homelessness who have been identified for supportive housing.
The equity officer said they have identified the Urban Institute to evaluate the success of the pilot. The Urban Institute will measure the pilot based on the following criteria:
- Financial stability: The ability of a household to cover a $400 emergency bill and the ability to pay bills on time.
- Health and wellness: Improvement in stress levels and the ability to receive preventative care, as well as food security.
- Increase in work shifts, participation in workforce or education programs, or other income changes.
- Whether funds are used for things like food, transportation, and housing.
- The ability to pay bills without having to borrow from friends or relatives.
- "Ability to live fully," measured by things like being able to cook more meals or pursuing hobbies and interests.
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