Mayor Patterson-Howard Joins Mayors for Guaranteed Income Coalition
City of Mount Vernon to focus on creating a pilot program to issue direct cash payments to families in need
Today, September 16, 2020 Mayor Patterson-Howard joined the newly formed Mayors for A Guaranteed Income (MGI), a growing coalition of twenty-five mayors from across the country, to advocate for unconditional direct cash payments and guaranteed income at the local, state, and federal level.
MGI launched on June 29, 2020 in an effort to address the growing economic disparities in communities across the nation. With 44% of American workers earning just about $18,000 a year, income and wealth inequality has reached historic highs. Many Americans work multiple jobs and still struggle to afford even the most basic of necessities, nearly 40% of all Americans cannot afford a $400 emergency. The emergence of COVID-19 has only exacerbated the deeply rooted issue of income inequality and has demonstrated the disproportionate impact it has had on minority communities. Now more than ever Americans across the nation need Guaranteed Income.
Mayor Patterson-Howard becomes the first mayor in the lower Hudson Valley region to join the coalition. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to plague residents and create economic instability, Mayor Patterson-Howard has pledged to invest in changing the narrative. As a strong advocate of cash-based policies, Mayor Patterson-Howard is pushing forward to create a pilot program that will supplement, rather than replace, existing financial support to residents. Earlier this year, Mayor Patterson-Howard announced the Financial Navigators program which will provide individuals with the tools to raise their financial capacity.
Mayor Patterson-Howard said, “Cash is the currency of urgency. In Mount Vernon, economic security is a quintessential building block for local families. With rising unemployment, food insecurity and a federal government that has failed to protect taxpayers, we have decided to act. As a long time, advocate for cash-based policies that improve the economic outcomes for residents I am excited to join my fellow mayors in this coalition. Guaranteed income for Mount Vernon residents will be a game changer and by generating innovative ideas to solve big problems, we can empower our community. In the next few months we will be unveiling our pilot program that will direct cash payments to families most in need.”
The pilot program for Mount Vernon is still in the early stages of implementation. The Patterson-Howard administration will be focusing on families who are on the cliff of financial distress, that includes those facing: homelessness, eviction, utility disconnection, unemployment, debt and other issues. Community input and involvement will be critical as the program is developing innovative and creative ways to implement a “New Deal” for Mount Vernon. By identifying public & private monies in addition to funds from the CARES act as starting capital, the goal of providing families with $500 cash payments directly over a 12–18-month period should be attainable.