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Some US cities are launching Universal Basic Income programs to help low-income individuals and families and determine whether the additional support will lead to positive and lasting effects.

The city of Shreveport, Louisiana, recently began accepting applications for a universal basic income program that will select 110 families to receive $ 660 per month for one year, according to KTBS. Single parents who are 120 percent below the federal poverty line are also eligible.

“It is estimated that 25% of the citizens of Shreveport live in poverty and a guaranteed income would allow beneficiaries to meet their most urgent daily needs and unpredictable expenses,” Mayor Adrian Perkins said in a press release. reported the Associated Press. .

The subject of a Universal Basic Income, or UBI, has received increasing attention in recent years as a way to reduce economic inequality in the United States.

Drexel University’s Center for Hunger-Free Communities defines UBI as a consistent and unconditional payment sent by the government to ensure “a basic standard of living for every member of a community.” Such a program would help offset the rising cost of living amid stagnant wages, the organization said.

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For the Shreveport program, participants will be selected through a series of lotteries conducted by an independent outside party, the city’s website explains. Those selected will then be divided into two groups – one who will receive the monthly allowance and a “control group” which will not.

“The control group allows us to understand the impact of guaranteed income over time in two similar groups of people: one who receives guaranteed income and one who does not,” the city explained. “Those assigned to the non-participating group will not receive guaranteed income through the program and will not be invited to participate in other research activities.”

Mayor Perkins is part of the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income organization, a group of U.S. mayors who advocate for recurring cash payments for citizens.

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In Atlanta, a new pilot program gives 275 residents $ 500 a month for one year and is open to people who live 200% below the poverty line, according to the Urban League of Greater Atlanta.

“This is an important first step towards achieving economic security, especially for those who have been neglected and left behind because of economic inequality,” said former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, also a fan of Mayors for Guaranteed Income, in a statement on the website.

“This initiative will allow us to act against poverty and equip vulnerable residents with a means to meet their basic needs and to be more successful,” she added.

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The Urban League of Greater Atlanta said research shows recipients of similar programs are using funds heavily for basic needs, including housing, utilities, food, unforeseen medical bills and other financial emergencies. .

On its website, the group criticized universal basic income programs which claim beneficiaries can stop working once they start receiving money.

“It’s a damaging stereotype around this concept and other welfare programs, but the facts show that just isn’t the case,” the group said. “Research on several money transfer initiatives over the decades has shown that there is no negative effect on the job market, and in fact, recent research shows that recipients have found more job.”

“And most guaranteed income proposals are pretty small – would you quit your job for $ 6,000 a year?” They added.

Atlanta residents can apply for the program here.