Kimberly McNair receives $1,000 a month for one year through a basic income program.
The program is currently helping 100 low-income black mothers like her in Jackson, Mississippi.
Most basic income programs are designed to help those who typically experience higher rates of poverty.
When Kimberly McNair was in a car accident last year, she didn’t know how she would pay for damages.
McNair, 35, did not have auto insurance. His vehicle was totaled. Without insurance, he had to pay for a new trip out of his own pocket. She suddenly found herself in debt for two cars.
“I need a car to go to work, buy groceries and pick up the kids from school,” he told Insider. “So that didn’t leave me with many other options.”
McNair qualified to participate in the Magnolia Mother’s Trust, a basic income program in Jackson, Mississippi, that provides $1,000 a month to 100 low-income black mothers for one year. Funded by a mix of individual and institutional donors, Magnolia has been giving money since 2018 and is currently in its third cohort of mothers.
Basic income programs like Magnolia have grown in popularity in recent years around the world, especially during the pandemic. caused financial pressure for many low-income households. Well-informed person reported that there were at least 33 currently or recently active basic income programs in the US by the end of 2021.
Basic income programs differ from traditional welfare programs in that they come with no strings attached: recipients can do whatever they want with the money and don’t have to disclose what it’s used for.
Programs like Magnolia specifically target low-income members of groups that typically face financial hardship. California, for example, provides funds for programs for pregnant individuals and young adults transitioning out of foster care. Other Program in St. Paul, Minnesota, specifically helps parents financially impacted by the pandemic.
“The reason the Magnolia Mother’s Trust focuses on black mothers in extreme poverty is for a number of reasons, including the facts showing that black women and children are more likely to live in poverty than any other demographic group,” Aisha Nyandoro, who runs Magnolia, told Insider. “It’s impossible to talk about economic justice without taking race and gender into account, but many of our economic policies fail to incorporate that.”
In addition to helping her pay for her car, McNair said the Magnolia funds help her pay for rent, groceries and supplies for her children. Vitally, she said, she is also helping her deal with medical debt from previous health complications.
“People struggle every day, even when they have full-time jobs,” McNair said. “It is never enough to be able to do everything on your own. So the money is a big help.”
Basic income helped McNair replace his car and pay medical debt
McNair has been receiving $1,000 a month from Magnolia for the past year. She said the funds have been vital, helping her get a car after her accident, pay medical bills and even pay for her sons’ youth soccer league.
McNair, who works at the local unemployment office, makes about $36,000 a year. Prior to this gig, he was working at a call center, earning $30,000. Usually that has been enough to keep her and her two children afloat, but last year she had to pay unexpected medical bills.
“I got sick several times last year, so I went to the hospital where I had to spend the night. I had episodes where I got sick and I didn’t know where I was coming from,” she said, adding that she currently owes about $6,000 in medical bills.
She said the money from Magnolia helped cover a variety of expenses for her family. She pays for food with food stamps, but the cash from the basic income program means her family has more options and her children can have more than one serving of food more often.
McNair said Magnolia allows her to budget for her children’s extracurricular activities. They are both interested in soccer, and she is able to use the funds to pay for tuition and equipment.
“Kids grow a lot,” he said. “You buy clothes one week and the next they are too small for you. Just making sure they have enough, like a decent pair of shoes and school supplies, money goes a long way…kids don’t want to feel like they don’t have a life, people need an extra push to make sure kids can go out eat once a month and do something special, to show them that they are appreciated”.
Read the original article at Business Insider