The concept known as ‘guaranteed income’ has gained popularity and momentum in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Proponents of the idea say giving direct cash assistance to people in need has the potential to address wealth and income inequality exacerbated by the pandemic, while others have balked at expanding the social safety net.
The question remains: Does giving people money make for good policy?
The city of Chelsea last year piloted the first guaranteed income program Massachusetts has ever seen. Participants received direct cash assistance in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis that hit the city of Chelsea especially hard. The Harvard Kennedy School’s Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston analyzed this cash assistance program and has released its initial findings.
This summer, the city of Cambridge launches its own guaranteed income pilot initiative, Cambridge RISE, part of the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income national network. CommonWealth, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, the Shah Family Foundation, and the Cambridge Community Foundation are hosting a Town Hall to discuss the research and policy implications of guaranteed income.
Moderated by CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl, speakers will include Founder of Mayors for Guaranteed Income Michael Tubbs, Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino, Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, Bob Giannino of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, Sara Arman of Chelsea-based GreenRoots, Jeff Liebman of Harvard Kennedy School, Jill Shah of the Shah Family Foundation and Geeta Pradhan of the Cambridge Community Foundation.