By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — A City Council committee on Thursday held a hearing on a possible pilot program to help lower-income Chicagoans bounce back from financial emergencies through guaranteed basic income.

Similar pilot programs in other U.S. cities typically offer $500 cash to around 125 people for a limited time, with no strings attached.

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Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th), who has said he plans to introduce a guaranteed basic income plan to the City Council soon, said the need is urgent.

Villegas said he would like to set aside 2% of the $1.8 billion in federal aid the city expects to get from the latest COVID relief program for a guaranteed basic income pilot project.

“We have got to get money, cash, into the hands of people so that way they can continue to keep the economy going,” Villegas said. “That money is going to circulate right back into the economy. So this is a great use of the funds that are coming from the American Rescue Plan.”

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A task force recommended the Chicago program offer $1,000 a month in guaranteed basic income

A newly-released study on the basic income initiative in Stockton, California, found it improved financial stability, job prospects, and overall well-being.

Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs also told aldermen the program showed people actually work more when they get guaranteed basic income.

Supporters say a guaranteed basic income helps lower-income people afford work-related costs like transportation, training, and child care.

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Gary, Indiana, announced a pilot program last month.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff