The city of Durham, NC will begin randomly selecting 115 formerly incarcerated individuals to receive an unconditional, cash transfer of $500 per month under their Excel Pilot Program. The pilot program will last one year. It is a collaborative effort between the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania, Mayors for Guaranteed Income (who provided a grant), and Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey who gave $15 million in December 2020 to get the project off the ground.
The objective of Durham’s Excel Pilot Program is to evaluate guaranteed income’s effects on recidivism and re-incarceration, employment, economic security, and income volatility, as well as physical functioning, mental health, stress, and coping, parenting, housing, and interactions with other institutional systems. StepUp Durham, who has been selected to administer the grant by the Durham City Council, states “we support such a policy because we believe that ongoing direct cash payments can have the dual effect of stabilizing families and stimulating the local economy; that families are best positioned to know their needs and cash transfer programs that come with no strings attached give families the agency they need to address them; and that a guaranteed income is part of a wider set of policies needed in our country to address rising income inequality.”
Applications for the program open on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022. Applicants must be residents of Durham, 18 or older, have been incarcerated in a state or federal prison at some point after November 2016, and have income at or below 60% of the Area Median Income. The $500-per-month checks are slated to begin in March.
For more information, go to www.stepupdurham.org/excel
Researched by Crystal Poole, NC-CURE Intern