The city of Austin in Texas has launched a one-year universal basic income (UBI) program for low-income families in partnership with a California-based non-profit called UpTogether. The program will pay $1,000 per month to 85 families at risk of losing their homes. The program was first suggested in a report prepared in 2021, offering recommendations to improve public safety and reduce economic inequality in Austin.

  • Austin will become the first city in Texas that tests a universal basic income program. However, at least 28 other cities in the US have previously implemented similar programs to combat poverty and homelessness.

Why It Matters: Austin Mayor Steve Adler said that along with creating a solution for homelessness, the program will also be beneficial for taxpayers “because it would be a lot less expensive to divert someone from homelessness than to help them find a home once they’re on our streets.”

Zoom In: UpTogether previously tested a privately-funded basic income program, providing low-income families in Austin and Washington $1,000 per month for a year. The results showed that most of the participating families were better able to pay their bills thanks to the program. It also revealed that more than half of the participants reduced their debt by 75% or more, and a third completely eliminated their household debt.

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