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Woods, Shamarra, Gro Fund, Black mothers, income, Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund, Atlanta

In Atlanta, the Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund (GRO) runs the In Her Hands program, offering young Black women monthly stipends averaging $850. This initiative forms part of a wider array of guaranteed income programs across the country, aiming to alleviate financial strain and meet basic needs.

Introduced in 2022, the program is extending payments to 650 women over two years. Its inception took place in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, a community deeply intertwined with the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., who advocated for basic income support, as highlighted by the GRO Fund, Business Insider noted.

An initial evaluation of the program’s impact, conducted by a group of academic scholars, indicates that many participants have experienced a notable reduction in their debt burden, according to a report obtained by Capital & Main.

Around 45% of the program’s participants stated that they utilized the funds to settle outstanding bills. Close to 30% of surveyed participants mentioned establishing “rainy day” funds since enrolling, while 27% indicated that they managed to clear their debts. Around 16% of participants revealed that they were able to purchase healthier food for their families thanks to the initiative. The report also noted that 14% of women enrolled were able to improve their credit scores.

 

The Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund was life-changing for Shamarra Woods.

In 2022, at the age of 31, Shamarra Woods, a recipient of the program, found herself on the verge of leaving Atlanta. Frustrated by the city’s high rent prices and her low-paying job as a logistics team trainee at a cardboard box company— a position she had spent a year searching for — she felt financially overwhelmed. Adding to her challenges, she was a single mother to her newborn daughter, Memri, born in March of that year.

Struggling to make ends meet, Woods faced a difficult decision. However, with the additional financial support provided, she was able to pay off her debts and afford childcare. This assistance allowed her to continue working at the company, which eventually recognized her dedication and promoted her.

Hope Wollensack, executive director at GRO, noted that approximately three-quarters of the women enrolled in the program, much like Woods, are mothers. She mentioned that these participants often allocate a significant portion of their monthly payments towards meeting their children’s needs.

The Georgia program is just one of 155 similar initiatives launched across the country in recent years. These programs aim to test the concept of providing unconditional cash assistance — known as guaranteed or basic income — as a means to alleviate poverty. The idea has gained widespread attention, with numerous pilot programs yielding promising data regarding its effectiveness.

In 2022, eligible moms living in Manhattan were given financial support on behalf of The Bridge Project. The guaranteed income program gave mothers and expectant moms anywhere from $500 to $1000 per month for three years.

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The post Atlanta’s Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund Proved To Be Successful For Black Mothers, New Report Finds appeared first on NewsOne.

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