Applications open Oct. 2-13 for Ann Arbor’s guaranteed income for low-income entrepreneurs

September 6, 2023
Guaranteed Income to Grow Ann Arbor (GIG A2) logo.

Entrepreneurs, self-employed people, owners of formal or informal small businesses, gig workers and people with side hustles who have low incomes can apply Oct. 2-13 to receive monthly payments from Guaranteed Income to Grow Ann Arbor (GIG A2).

After the application window closes, 100 eligible applicants will be randomly selected to receive payments of $528 per month for two years, starting early in 2024. Recipients can use the money however they want—no strings attached. They will be asked to complete three surveys over the course of the two-year pilot, answering questions about how they use the guaranteed income money; other experiences such as affording food, housing and child care; and their health and well-being.

Another 100 eligible applicants will be randomly selected to participate in a research study of the guaranteed income program, but they will not receive the cash payments. They will be paid as a token of appreciation for taking similar surveys as the participants who receive the payments.

The city of Ann Arbor selected Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan to manage the guaranteed income pilot and conduct a research study to measure its impact.

“This guaranteed income pilot is about celebrating residents who do much to strengthen our community but are still struggling to make ends meet. The funded and unfunded participants are both vital to the success of the research study, which will allow other communities across the country to learn from Ann Arbor’s approach to guaranteed income,” said Kristin Seefeldt, U-M associate professor of social work and public policy and associate director of Poverty Solutions, who is the lead researcher for the guaranteed income pilot.

To be eligible for the monthly payments, applicants must:

  • Live in the city of Ann Arbor and be at least 18 years old.
  • Have an income at or below 225% of the federal poverty line. People who currently receive or are eligible for any type of public assistance (SNAP, TANF, Section 8, Pell Grants) likely qualify.
  • Be an entrepreneur, owner of a formal or informal small business, independent contractor, provide paid services informally or a gig worker. Many different activities meet this criteria, from doing hair, to shoveling snow, to selling art and performing.

More details on eligibility and how the program works are available on the Guaranteed Income to Grow Ann Arbor website. The application will be available online, and there will be in-person opportunities in the coming weeks to learn more about the pilot and to receive assistance completing the application.

In 2022, the Ann Arbor City Council allocated $1.6 million of the city’s federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to a basic income pilot. After reviewing proposals for how the pilot program could be structured and evaluated, city staff recommended partnering with U-M Poverty Solutions, and the city council signed off on the proposal in June. In August, U-M’s Institutional Review Board approved the design of the study.

The pilot is supported by several community partners, including Friends in Deed, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, Ann Arbor District Library, Express Your Yes Foundation, Groundcover News, and Washtenaw Community College’s Entrepreneurship Center.