NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— On Tuesday, New Orleans City leaders announced the results of a nationwide income movement program that was launched in April. According to the Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families, the City’s Guaranteed Income Program provided $350 a month for 10 months to 125 young people between the ages of 16 to 24 who are disconnected from work and school in the city.

Their data shows that in New Orleans and around the country, families are using their need-based cash payments to cover necessities to build financial security. According to the data provided by the Mayor’s Office, the majority of funds were spent on basic necessities like food, household goods, and transportation. Here is a breakdown:

  • 48.8 percent of the funds were spent on food and groceries
  • 32.1 percent of the funds were spent at retailers and discount superstores on items such as food, clothes, household goods, and hygiene products
  • 8.2 percent was spent on transportation costs such as gas and car repairs
  • 4.5 percent went to housing and utilities
  • Other expenses included loan repayments, medical expenses, and tuition

The Guaranteed Income Pilot Program is meant to help improve racial and gender equity. New Orleans is the only MGI-funded city in the country supporting individuals under 18 according to city officials.

A participant in the program said that the program has been a great help to her and her two children. “With the money, I’ve been able to save and also spend it on things I need like school, diapers, and phone bills. Being a part of the Guaranteed Income Program has also helped me connect with other great resources,” said Symphony Lee, a New Orleans resident.

New Orleans Mayor Cantrell said that a big part of the program was understanding that every person and family has different needs. “Moreover, these priorities may evolve differently every month, and this program has given our youth the power and autonomy to make the choices that most benefit them, aligning with my administration’s goals to create a more inclusive and equitable City overall. Having access to this data is essential because as more of these Guaranteed Income programs develop, we must continue to recognize the types of impacts Guaranteed Income has on some of the most pressing issues facing our communities, including physical and mental health, employment and job security, parenting, substance abuse and more. Once we receive additional data and are able to gain a better understanding of additional data and information over time, we will be well-equipped to determine how best to tailor Guaranteed Income programs for different cities for generations to come,” said Mayor Cantrell.