Pilot program in Mount Vernon will provide monthly funds to residents in need
A pilot program starting in the new year in Mount Vernon will provide money every month to residents in need - with no strings attached.
Mayor Shawn Patterson-Howard says the program is a way to combat poverty.
The city is still in the planning stages for the pilot program, so there's no guidance yet on who or how many people will qualify for the money.
Patterson-Howard says she's working to get funding from both private and public sources.
She is part of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, a network of officials from 25 cities advocating for this kind of program on a national level.
In their meeting Wednesday, the mayors recognized that not everyone will understand why they want to expand the social safety net when there are already programs in place to support their residents.
While this cash is only going to residents - not small businesses - Mayor Patterson-Howard says the idea is that those residents will spend the money locally, and in turn, support Mount Vernon's small businesses.
Mount Vernon has a median income of $57,000 a year.