DES MOINES, Iowa — This fall, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation is kicking off a basic income pilot program.
“Those early findings are really pointing to the ways in which having a sustained basic income allows people to pivot to a more secure financial situation," says CEO and President of Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, Nalo Johnson.
Hoping to study how a guaranteed consistent income impacts not only mental and physical health but also quality of life.
Johnson says multiple aspects will be studied including, “everything from anxiety and depression scales, to input on what we call quality of life activities.”
110 low-income participants from Dallas, Polk and Warren Counties will receive monthly payments of $500 for two year. As Iowans get that cash, researchers will be tracking how they spend it and compare it to a group of Iowans not receiving the funding.
“Is that going towards food," says Johnson. "Is that going towards childcare expenses? Is that going towards housing or allowing folks to save because now they’re able to respond to an emergency.”
Similar studies around the country have begun identifying a correlation between consistent income and a positive increase in quality of life.
Johnson says one of the most promising results she's seen come out of those studies, is an improvement in employment opportunities. They are seeing participants go “from either part-time employment to full time employment or from a full time employment position to a better full time employment position.”
Once completed Johnson is hoping to discuss the results with lawmakers. “From a policy and elected official stand point to be able to talk about what kind of intentional policy or investment decisions they would like to move forward with.”
Starting November, the foundation will be working with Central Iowa Organizations in order to recruit participants. Iowa's News Now will continue to track this story, and who can take part in the pilot program, for a shot at that free cash for a year.