Formerly Incarcerated Population Gets an Economic Boost

Successful Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) programs bring economic opportunity, security, and stimulation to an impacted population. Our partners, Equity and Transformation, have championed this success with their local GBI pilot program. The Chicago Future Fund is a GBI pilot program that offers $500 a month for 18 months without restrictions on how the money gets spent. While qualifications for GBI programs vary, the Chicago Future Fund requires applicants to be formerly incarcerated people aged 18-35 making less than $12,000 annually. The program's core objective is to alleviate the burdens associated with life after incarceration and enhance outcomes for formerly incarcerated individuals. 

In their first round, the Chicago Future Fund had 30 participants from West Garfield Park. In their Evaluation Report, EAT finds that the monetary compensation provided a vital stabilizing force in participants' lives. EAT found that participants were eager to use the funds for housing and living expenses, and it reduced overall engagement with the informal economy as 44% of participants reported a decline in participation in activities related to the informal economy. The report suggests that securing employment could be improved if GBI programs were linked to workforce development programs that could bolster participants’ job searches.

As BlackRoots Alliance continues to support the safety and liberation of Black people, initiatives like GBI programs are important to build economic, social, and racial justice. The Chicago Future Fund Evaluation Report also outlines the impact on participants' interaction with police, mental health, and well-being. Conclusively, EAT finds that GBI programs should be an economic priority to address the hardships of directly impacted communities. To read more insights about the Chicago Future Fund and recommendations for future GBI programming, check out their round 1 evaluation report: 


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