Central Iowa Group Starting Pilot Basic Income Plan

Central Iowa — Eleven organizations in central Iowa have put together a pilot project for what’s called a basic income plan.

The Director of Principal Foundation, Jo Christine Miles, says they will provide 500 dollars each month to participants.

Miles says the idea came from Doctor Nalo Johnson, who is the President & CEO of Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, after she saw results from other pilots across the country.

They will seek 110 low-income individuals living in Polk, Warren and Dallas Counties. She says they want to see what happens when you help people get caught up, so that they can move into higher income levels.

Miles says giving the participants money gives them more options compared to other supports like food assistance which has many restrictions on how it can be used. She says the data from the other pilots across the country has shown the money is well spent.

Miles says the stories about people getting assistance and spending the money on things it wasn’t intended for tend to get more attention. She says that hasn’t proven to be true in these pilots.

The other pilots across the country have been in places like Stockton, California, Baltimore, Maryland, Chicago, Atlanta, and Mexico. Miles says the Iowa project is unique.

Miles says the Iowa pilot should provide some really interesting data to add to the national conversation. Recruitment is expected to begin in late November 2022, with the first payments starting in February 2023. This project is supported in part by federal funds under the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund awarded to Des Moines, Urbandale, and Polk County by the US Department of Treasury. Others involved are the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, Principal Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, Windsor Heights, Bank of America, The Director’s Council, Telligen Community Initiative, and United Way of Central Iowa.