AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council opted to postpone discussion on its proposed guaranteed income program that would offer 85 families $1,000 a month for a year. Austin Mayor Steve Adler said council will still flesh out the item in executive session before bringing it back for a vote in two weeks’ time.
Under the proposed pilot program, 85 families or individuals facing extreme financial hardship will receive $1,000 a month for a year. More than 50 cities nationally have adopted some version of the pilot, which originally launched in Stockton, California as a two-year, $500 monthly allotment.
In a council member forum discussion led by Council Member Mackenzie Kelly, she said she wanted substantial time to discuss the “metrics, outcomes, and decision-making process” with city staff prior to a vote.
“I have spoken to many people in the community who seem to have a misunderstanding of how this pilot program will work,” Kelly wrote. “I believe that for any program in the City of Austin, the community deserves to get the best information possible and this postponement will allow myself and other council members the opportunity to engage in healthy conversations about the intended purpose and outcome of this item.”
The city had not yet solidified what the qualifying metrics would be to make an Austin resident or family eligible for the funding, officials said in a roundtable discussion Monday.
As part of Thursday’s discussion, Adler noted approximately 30 different advocacy groups in the city wanting to help with any “inaccuracy” surrounding the program or its uses. Under Austin’s proposed pilot, there would be no requirements for how participants use the funding, with Adler adding Monday he thinks the program could be a tool to help divert residents facing housing insecurities from falling into homelessness.
“It’s really expensive for our community when that happens,” Adler told KXAN. “Maybe if we can give somebody some assistance just before that happens, we can keep them in their homes.”