Inclusive Economy Lab Guaranteed Income

Chicagoans aspire to take care of themselves and their loved ones and have the financial stability to pursue their goals.  Unfortunately, for many Chicagoans, the volatility of their income and expenses make these aspirations difficult to realize.  Due to decades of exclusionary government policies and institutional practices that have inhibited the accumulation of wealth, households in communities of color face even more difficulty in achieving financial stability and economic mobility.

To address these longstanding disparities and accelerate our region’s progress toward an equitable economic recovery, both the City of Chicago and Cook County will use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to launch ambitious guaranteed income pilots in 2022. The Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot will provide $500 per month to 5,000 Chicagoans beginning in the summer of 2022. The Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot will provide $500 per month to approximately 3,250 residents of Cook County over two years beginning in the fall of 2022. The need for these programs is significant: the Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot received more than 100,000 completed applications from Chicago residents.

The Inclusive Economy Lab and the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice are honored to support the City of Chicago and Cook County evaluate the Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot and Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot. Together these pilots represent the largest investment in unconditional cash assistance in a single metropolitan area in the United States.

Our evaluations of both pilots will allow policymakers, elected officials, funders, and advocates to learn from this ambitious initiative. Our learning agenda will focus on four broad goals:

  • Measuring the impact of these programs on outcomes of policy interest;
  • Sharing the impact of these programs in participants’ own voices;
  • Improving the design of future cash assistance programs; and
  • Convening and amplifying national conversations on these and other efforts to alleviate poverty and inequality.

This will be accomplished via a mixed-methods study that incorporates quantitative and qualitative research approaches.

Periodically we will release updates and reports on our work as part of our commitment to make the valuable insights gleaned from our work both accessible and useful to our partners and community. 

This initial report by the Inclusive Economy Lab describes who applied to the Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot, what their stated needs, goals, and priorities were prior to the pilot starting, and their self-reported physical and mental health. Also interspersed throughout the report are applicants’ experiences from qualitative interviews conducted in the summer of 2022.

You can read the First Look report here.

A First Look at the Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot Process Evaluation Summary of Existing Research on Guaranteed Income and Related Policies CRCP PhotoVoice