NEW ORLEANS—The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana announced today in a blog post that participants in its Guaranteed Monthly Income (GMI program) are seeing a 20% increase in overall life satisfaction since the program’s launch in early December 2023. 

The survey was administered in January by the Fund for Guaranteed Income (F4GI), an organization dedicated to re-imagining the social safety net by expanding access to those left out of welfare and economic systems. The results were compared to a baseline survey conducted in December.  

As a result of the program, 42% of participants were now able to afford mental and physical healthcare necessities, up from 17% a month prior. Additionally, 56% of participants reported that they were able to begin paying down debts, up from 25%.

“In just one month, this program has shown what is possible as our participants take back some dignity in their lives,” said Melody Parker, Truth and Reconciliation project manager.  “Many have expressed hopes of starting or growing a business, paying off debts, or continuing their education. We expect our participants to be able to do all this and more as the program continues.”

The program is the outcome of the ACLU of Louisiana’s Truth and Reconciliation Project, which creates a template for the redistribution of funds from the descendants of enslavers to those impacted by the oppressive vestiges of slavery. In the pilot GMI program, twelve individuals will receive cash transfers of $1,000 a month for one year. In addition to monthly income, recipients will have the option to participate in holistic programming that they co-designed, including free counseling, career services support, and financial literacy workshops.

All participants in the GMI program have participated in the ACLU of Louisiana’s Justice Lab, which seeks justice for victims of racist policing through litigation and publishing community member narratives.  The program is funded in part by a $1 million commitment from Deacon Leroy Close and Gracie Close. 

“This program is part of a global reparations movement in which individuals and families are investigating the origins of their wealth and taking action to begin to address what is owed to Black people in this country,” said Maggy Baccinelli, ACLU of Louisiana development director.

The ACLU of Louisiana will continue to update the public on future results and the progress of the program as it continues, aiming to illustrate the potential for guaranteed income to repair the harms done by discriminatory policing. 

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