The Denver Basic Income Project: Improving Human Thriving

Financial instability is a reality that many Americans must contend with every day. As the cost-of-living increases, it becomes harder for people to make ends meet when their income does not increase alongside costs. Fortunately, there are a plethora of programs that aim to lessen these financial burdens. The Denver Basic Income Project is one such program.

What is Basic Income?

Basic Income is a program predicated on the idea that people know where to best utilize their own funds. Therefore, unlike other programs aimed at financial support, basic income does not have restrictions on what a recipient can spend it on. Qualified recipients are granted the money and can use it how they see fit, whether it is spent on housing or food is entirely up to the individual.

The Denver Basic Income Project

There have been several basic income pilot programs implemented in cities across the country, such as Los Angeles, New Orleans and Gainesville. The Denver Basic Income Project (DBIP) is focused specifically on assisting individuals experiencing homelessness. The idea is that by providing the most vulnerable populations with direct income, it will ease the path to stability.

To gauge the program’s viability, two initial pilots were launched  in August 2021 and July 2022. The program is slated for a full launch in November 2022 and will assist 820 individuals or families experiencing homelessness. Potential participants may apply regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. If an individual is already connected with one of DBIP’s partnering organizations, this also grants them eligibility.

Once selected, participants will be sorted into one of three groups. The first group, consisting of 260 participants, will receive $6,500 initially and then another $500 per month over the subsequent 11 months. The second group will have 260 participants as well and will receive $1,000 per month over 12 months. The final group, with 300 participants, will receive $50 a month for 12 months. This will allow the project to identify the best possible ways to help people. Additionally, participants will take part in surveys and interviews to better understand the impact of the Denver Basic income project.

Funding for the project is accomplished through a combination of public and private sources. Private foundations and individuals have contributed to the project alongside public sources such as the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and the City and County of Denver. As of the writing of this article, the DBIP has raised $7.2 million of the projected $9 million budget. You can support the project by donating.

For more information, visit the DBIP website or read more here.

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