ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — Making a historic move in Michigan, Ann Arbor City Council members have voted to launch universal basic income for struggling families. Part of a national movement, the initiative aims to help those hit hardest by the pandemic.
Ann Arbor City Council is now planning to help 100 families hit hardest by the pandemic with monthly payments of $500.
“I’m fortunate enough to have a daughter who’s almost a year old, and in the past year it’s been awesome but I’ve definitely seen how expensive child care really is,” says parent Taylor Gomez.
As a young mother, Taylor says nothing has brought her family more joy than the birth of her daughter. She and her husband are both working and still able to make ends meet despite rising inflation.
She's grateful to the city council for a new pilot program to soon bring guaranteed income for those who need it most.
She adds, “My spouse and brother and dad all are frontline workers and had to keep going in every day. Support to those families putting us on their backs every day, they definitely deserve it.”
Councilmember Linh Song introduced the plan which passed by a 10-1 vote. She says $1.6 million in funding will come from the American Rescue Act.
“What we’re trying to do is essentially guaranteed income. $500 a month for 100 families struggling and low income during the pandemic,” says Song.
Her colleague, council member Jen Eyer also says “There are no strings attached, we are not telling people how they should spend the money. Most aid people get is usually directed for one thing or another.”
Opponents of this measure around the country have criticized this as fueling government dependency.
In Ann Arbor, we were not able to find people in opposition. In fact, council members say the United Way and the University of Michigan are looking to partner on the program.
“Groceries. Gas. It provides more stability in an expensive town.” says Song.
The city is working to create a link on their website to accept applications. They hope to have it up and running in 4-6 weeks.