May 2, 2024

Mayor Brandon Johnson Re-Launches Guaranteed Income Advisory Group, Joins Mayors for a Guaranteed Income Coalition

Day two of countdown to first-year anniversary focuses on policy, and the advisory group informing Mayor Johnson’s vision for the ARPA-funded guaranteed income pilot that will deliver dollars directly into the hands of Chicagoans.

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CHICAGO – Mayor Brandon Johnson today announced the launch of an advisory group of City of Chicago officials, Chicago City Council members, and community advocates to advise on his Chicago Empowerment Fund, a guaranteed income pilot using federal dollars through the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA). The advisory group will be tasked with providing guidance on the eligibility and outreach strategies for the guaranteed income pilot.

Today’s release highlights the work of the Mayor’s Office policy team and is the second in a series of recaps of the first year leading up to the Johnson Administration’s May 15, 2024, anniversary.    

“When I said I would ensure the City uses these federal recovery dollars to invest in people, this guaranteed income program is exactly what I meant,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “This program delivers dollars directly into the hands of Chicagoans who need it the most and will provide much-needed relief to help families and communities meet financial obligations and responsibilities.” 

Over three dozen people will be invited to join the advisory group, and the City aims to convene the first meeting in May. The group will put forward recommendations to Mayor Johnson over the course of the upcoming months.  

“This initiative is an example of people power. It is an example of what becomes possible when the people most affected in Chicago organize, dream of new solutions, and advocate for those solutions to be implemented by their elected leadership,” said Rich Wallace, Founder and Executive Director of Equity and Transformation (E.A.T.). “In essence, this initiative is an example of what democracy looks like.” 

Mayor Johnson also today joined Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), a nationwide network of mayors advocating for a guaranteed income to ensure that all Americans have an income floor. While cities and local governments play an essential role in supporting residents’ economic security, federal support is needed to ensure the demonstrated success of guaranteed income pilots spurs permanent programs.

Guaranteed income is an essential policy tool for directly serving residents, and Chicago is proud to be a national guaranteed income leader. Poverty is caused by a lack of resources, not a lack of knowledge, expertise, or financial literacy. Guaranteed income gives people what they need most – reliable money to support their daily costs.

“We are thrilled guaranteed income is returning to the City of Chicago! We know putting a little extra money in people’s pockets every month leads to economic resilience and stability,” said Harish I. Patel, Vice President, Build the Field at Economic Security Project and Founder of Economic Security Illinois.

According to the Guaranteed Income Pilots Dashboard, a joint project of MGI, Stanford Basic Income Lab, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Guaranteed Income Research, guaranteed income recipients spend their money on basic necessities. Data from guaranteed income pilots and programs around the country has also shown guaranteed income can provide recipients’ sufficient economic security to prioritize education, parenting, and caretaking responsibilities over extra hours at work or another job and can help participants pay off debt and choose traditional financial services over predatory lenders. 

Today’s announcement builds on the success of the City’s first guaranteed income pilot, the Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot (CRCP), also funded through ARPA. According to the University of Chicago Inclusive Economy Lab’s initial insight on the CRCP, 70 percent of participants were Black, 72 percent were women and 14 percent were housing unstable.

The Johnson Administration is grateful to a community of stakeholders and advocates who have supported this work in Chicago, Cook County, and nationally.

The guaranteed income pilot builds on a year of substantial policy achievements from the Johnson Administration including passage of the first-ever Urban Agriculture Business Enhancement License ordinance, launch of the Treatment Not Trauma Working Group, collaboration around One Fair Wage and Paid Time Off ordinances that passed City Council last fall, and joining the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund CityStart Initiative.

Please visit to sign up to receive more information on the re-launch of Mayor Johnson’s guaranteed income program as it becomes available.