Paterson launches program to guarantee $400 per month to select families

Coronavirus Update New Jersey
PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- A city in New Jersey is launching a program that guarantees income for a select number of families struggling financially during the pandemic.

About 110 households in Paterson will receive $400 a month for one full year -- no strings attached.

The time to apply is coming up, if you are eligible, and thousands of families are.

"So if you make $30,000 or less, your single -- you're eligible -- you make $88,000 and you have a family -- you're eligible," Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh said.

Paterson is jumpstarting the 'Mayor's Guaranteed Income Program'.

Stockton, California did it first with a grant from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Dorsey and a few others have given Paterson $580,000 to do the same because of the results in Stockton.

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"40% of the money that was spent in Stockton, was on groceries and then people are spending on medicine -- clothing," Sayegh said.

Reverend Weldon McWilliams of Christ Temple Baptist Church helped bring the grant to Paterson. He sees it as an opportunity to give families in need extra financial breathing room to make ends meet.

"I look at this as a very important first step as you look at how the distribution of wealth not only in the city and the state -- but in this nation," McWilliams said.

"We're faced with problems we know through the resiliency, character and strength we fight problems with solution," Paterson City Council Vice President Lilisa Mimms said.

The city will also work with those families on financial stability.

"Help them reduce their debt, repair credit scores, get a bank if they don't have any accounts," Sayegh said.

"I think it's amazing that we can take on things like financial inequities, health inequities through a process like this," task force member David Kim

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You can apply starting April 12 through April 30, on the city of Paterson's website. Look for the 'Mayor's Guaranteed Income' link.

A program at the University of Pennsylvania will select who's eligible, and final choices will be made by random lottery.

If there is success in the year, the mayor says they'll work to expand it to as many families as possible.

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