Newark adding 400 more residents to guaranteed income pilot program

Selected housing-insecure residents will receive $500 per month for 2 years

When it was introduced this summer, some questioned whether the guaranteed income pilot program that began giving Newark residents $500 per month — to be used as they choose — was sustainable.

The answer came Monday.

Mayor Ras Baraka announced Monday that the program — which began with 30 residents — was being expanded to 400 participants in a second phase that already has begun.

The program, being implemented in partnership with Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, will address the economic insecurity faced by Newark’s residents by providing $6,000 per year for two years.

Who qualifies?

For the guaranteed income pilot program, individuals were required to meet the following four criteria:

  • Must be a Newark resident;
  • Must be at least 18 years of age;
  • Must possess an income at or below 200% of the federal poverty line;
  • Must be adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At a time when our city still faces the challenges of COVID-19 and its economic impact, the biggest and most important institution that we should be investing in is families,” Baraka said. “This will give our residents a much-needed boost and allow them to participate in the economy, regain their economic independence and strength, and move toward prosperity. This type of intervention can support our economy and our future.”

The program is being studied in a variety of ways by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Guaranteed Income Research. The research will focus on the impact that a guaranteed income can have on household income volatility and housing insecurity.

In one study, the CGIR will study individuals who will receive a guaranteed income and individuals who will not receive a guaranteed income in order to draw a comparison between both groups over a two-year period.

The group also will look at the impact of how the money is distributed. In a feature unique to Newark’s program, program participants will receive payments on either a biweekly or semiannual basis, with 50% receiving $250 biweekly and 50% receiving $3,000 twice yearly.

Want to contribute?

Individuals or companies looking to contribute to the guaranteed income pilot program should contact Newark Philanthropic Liaison Kevin Callaghan at

Kevin Callaghan, Newark’s philanthropic liaison, said raising money for the program has not been an issue.

“The Newark Movement for Economic Equity has already raised $6.2 million from a mix of private and public funds from the American Rescue Plan,” he said. “This is a model public-private partnership that highlights the catalytic impact that philanthropy can have when it is nimble and responsive to community and the broader stakeholder community.”

Kaleena Berryman, program manager of the Newark Movement for Economic Equity, said the impact already has been evident.

“It has been amazing to see how impactful this additional support has already been for residents and families,” she said. “To hear their stories — the losses many have suffered due to COVID-19, and how these additional dollars will be used to help them recover, have been inspiring.

“We are proud to support this project, serve residents and, over the next two years, connect them to other city resources that can help them achieve personal goals.”