Mount Vernon pilot programs gives 200 households $500 a month

Beverley Duncan was dealing with some serious financial hardships when she found out that out of 3,000 applicants, she was randomly selected to receive this income.

Emily Young

Mar 19, 2024, 9:25 PM

Updated 34 days ago

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Two hundred lucky households in Mount Vernon figured out what to do with an extra $500 a month.
They were given the money from the City of Mount Vernon to spend without any guidelines or stipulations for one year. They have already received their last payment.
That amounts to $6,000 for the year, and as it turns out, the money can be life-changing.
Beverley Duncan was dealing with some serious financial hardships when she found out that out of 3,000 applicants, she was randomly selected to receive this income.
She already worked a regular 9-5 job, but was also trying to find a job at night.
"My rent was raised at the same time, $300 on my rent at once and I was like, 'God, this came in at the right time, god you have answered my prayers thank you so much,'" she said.
For her, this money was nothing short of miraculous. It allowed her to pay all her bills and come up with a financial plan for the following year.
Mayor Shawyn Patterson Howard said all of the recipients, who had to have a collective household income of under $80,000, used their money similarly.
"We've been able to see that when you give people direct cash assistance, they don't just blow it. Our data shows that people used it on rent, utilities, food, transportation, childcare, medical care, basic needs and some people even went out and had dinner," said the mayor.
"It helps you to make a different decision," explained recipient Randy Cooper. "If I don't want to do the overtime on Saturday, I don't have to."
For him, this money means freedom, and the ability to give his kids money whenever they ask.
"When you can't give it to them, it stresses you. But when you're able to give, it's like a breath of fresh air, mentally."
Mayor Patterson-Howard says this program was a way to get financial help without losing one's dignity.
She hopes to get more funding to do this program again in the future.


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