County Executive Angela Alsobrooks launched a two-year, guaranteed basic income pilot program in Prince George’s County Nov. 21 to enhance economic stability and mobility for local families and residents.
Thrive Prince George’s — the $4 million initiative — will provide monthly payments of $800 for two years to 50 individuals between the ages of 18 to 24 who have transitioned out of foster care, and to at least 125 residents 60 years of age or older, according to a Prince George’s County press release.
This support comes with no strings attached and no requirements related to employment.
Alsobrooks worked with the Greater Washington Community Foundation, the Prince George’s County Council and the Meyer Foundation to start the program.
Alsobrooks believes the pilot program will provide substantial support to Prince George’s County residents who are most in need.
“With a guaranteed steady stream of income, pursuing new opportunities will be much easier,” Alsobrooks said at a Nov. 21 launch event. “It is our hope that this program will lift Prince Georgians out of poverty, setting up some of the most vulnerable residents for success now and for years to come, even after the program ends.”
District 7 council member Krystal Oriadha also spoke at the launch event and emphasized how Thrive Prince George’s demonstrates the government working in favor of its citizens.
Oriadha mentioned that a few years ago, an advocate approached her along with a couple other organizers and highlighted the necessity for guaranteed basic income in Prince George’s County. Two years later, numerous agencies worked together to transform this concept into a reality.
The program is an example of the community impacting the government’s actions, Oriadha said.
Thrive Prince George’s follows the country’s first local guaranteed basic income program in Stockton, California in 2019, which Alsobrooks said had “remarkable” findings. The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration provided $500 per month for two years to 125 Stockton residents.
Initial findings from the Stockton program revealed that individuals receiving the guaranteed income experienced improved health, reduced levels of depression and anxiety and an overall enhancement of their well-being.
Gloria Brown Burnett, director of Prince George’s County’s social services department, highlighted the importance of guaranteed income for seniors and those who were in the foster care system.
“We’ve been talking about it for years and after months of discussion, hard work and collaboration today this public-private partnership is coming to fruition,” Burnett said at the Nov. 21 event. “What a difference Thrive Prince George’s will make in the lives of youth that have aged out of foster care, senior citizens and communities here in Prince George’s County.”
The Greater Washington Community Foundation will collaborate with two community based organizations — Court Appointed Special Advocate Prince George’s County and United Communities Against Poverty — to recruit, select and onboard participants.
These groups will also be responsible for distributing cash payments and offering optional benefits counseling to ensure engagement in the pilot program does not compromise existing safety net services.
The application period for Thrive Prince George’s is anticipated to begin in December. Following a selection process spanning four to six weeks, selected applicants can expect to receive their first payment at the beginning of 2024, according to Tonia Wellons, the president of the Greater Washington Community Foundation.
“This initiative is an innovative example of how we find solutions through public-private partnerships,” Alsobrooks said. “Thanks to this collaborative pilot program, we’re weaving a stronger social fabric and empowering people to pursue their aspirations with dignity and resilience.”