ST. LOUIS – Mayor Tishaura Jones has approved a plan for St. Louis to move forward with a Guaranteed Basic Income cash assistance program.

Jones signed BB116, coined the “Working Families Bill” on Wednesday. This officially authorizes a program through which hundreds of St. Louis families in need of financial assistance will receive monthly $500 payments.

The pilot program is the first guaranteed basic income program within the state of Missouri. It is expected to support 440 families with $500 checks for 18 consecutive months, according to the mayor’s office.

“From creating better opportunities for our youth to expanding access to healthcare, this bill is an investment directly in our communities still struggling to get back on their feet,” said Jones via a news release.

The legislation approved Wednesday involves $52 million in ARPA funds, including $5 million for the guaranteed basic income program.

The goal of the program is to help parents or legal guardians in St. Louis who have lost money because of the COVID-19 pandemic, have children in public schools in the City of St. Louis, and are below 170% of the federal poverty level.

Jones says the legislation will support public school children and their families, expand health care access for residents, and invest in public safety by creating new opportunities for youth. In addition to the monthly payments to qualified residents, the legislation…

  • Directs $13 million to four St. Louis federally qualified health centers seeking expansion in North and South St. Louis. 
  • Directs $2 million to the City of St. Louis Department of Health’s newly created Bureau of Behavioral Health to combat substance misuse and abuse.
  • Allocates $10 million to enhance youth diversion, programming, and jobs through the Office of Violence Prevention and St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment. 

“I want to thank Mayor Jones and her team for their leadership and vision and  my colleagues at the Board of Alderman for their steadfast care and love for the people of our city,” said bill sponsor Ald. Shameem Clark-Hubbard. “As we head into 2023, I’m overjoyed by the commitment of my fellow elected leaders to the people, the families, the mothers and children of our city; we are working together to make the best life possible for St. Louisans.”

“The Working Families bill gives struggling families an added lift so they can pursue higher paying jobs, cover childcare expenses, and pay down debt—giving them a real chance to break the cycle of poverty,” said Board of Aldermen President Megan Green. “This bill is a step toward a universal program that would help all St. Louisans achieve a dignified, prosperous life.”

Under the bill, the St. Louis Treasurer’s Office would oversee the distribution of ARPA funds to St. Louis City residents.