Mayor Andre Sayegh’s administration could receive $500,000 through the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income to roll out a basic income initiative in Paterson.
Sayegh’s goal is to enroll 50 to 70 families in the program. He wants to give each family $500 per month.
“There’s a definite need. I’ve always been a supporter of creating some level of an income floor because people are struggling mightily with finances, and it’s worse now,” said Sayegh.
Paterson is among the poorest municipalities in New Jersey. Median household income in Paterson is $41,360, according to the U.S. Census, half that of the New Jersey average of $82,545.
Almost 27 percent of Paterson residents live in poverty.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey last week donated $15 million to the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, made up of 30 cities, including Paterson, to fund basic income initiatives.
Each city is eligible for up to $500,000 in funding, said Saadia McConville of the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income.
“We’re confident that we will be able to meet the criteria and obtain the funding,” said Sayegh. He hopes to launch the Paterson program on March 1, 2021. He formed a working group in September for the initiative.
Sayegh said the working group is made up of residents, city employees, and activists. Families will have to meet an income threshold to qualify for the basic income program. The mayor said the working group is coming up with those criteria.
“It could help a lot of people,” said Sayegh. He said he is pairing the minimum income program with two other initiatives, a driver’s license restoration program and the financial empowerment center.
Email: [email protected]