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Birmingham to Launch Guaranteed Income Initiative That Supports Mothers

A single mother is answering emails and working on her website for her new start up company. She is watching her toddler son while working.


The Birmingham City Council this week approved Mayor Randall L. Woodfin’s initiative to provide guaranteed income to 110 Birmingham residents through monthly payments.

Embrace Mothers is a City of Birmingham pilot program in partnership with Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), a network of mayors advocating for guaranteed income to give Americans an income floor. On behalf of the city, Woodfin took the pledge to join MGI’s effort. The city received a $500,000 grant to execute the pilot.

“I want to thank the council for working alongside me to see the Embrace Mothers pilot program become a reality,” Mayor Woodfin said. “This is an opportunity to further our commitment to innovative solutions designed to improve the economic standing for our residents. Women and mothers specifically are the nucleus of our families and communities.

“By putting financial resources into homes, we not only improve the outcomes for women but for children and the greater community at large. I am proud that Birmingham is the first city in Alabama to take this approach in partnership with MGI.”

Through the initiative, 110 Birmingham residents will receive $375 a month for a 12-month period. Those eligible would be female-identifying heads of family caring for at least one child under the age of 18. Single-mother households represent about 60 percent of all City of Birmingham households with children.

Research on the pilot program would be conducted by MGI’s research partner, Abt Associates. Abt Associates will run the application process, expected to begin within the next month, including the randomized selection of benefit recipients. The city will not be responsible for the selection of applicants.


Abt Associates will select an additional 132 control group participants to participate in the pilot. These individuals will not receive a monthly guaranteed income payment but will be invited to complete surveys throughout the duration of the pilot to assist in evaluation of its impact. Control group participants will be compensated for their research participation.

In addition to the $500,000 MGI grant, the city will provide up to $40,000 to support administration of the pilot program through the Penny Foundation, a locally based non-profit corporation. The East Lake Initiative, also a locally based non-profit, will receive up to $10,000 from the city to provide one-on-one onboarding and benefits counseling for recipients in the pilot program.

A guaranteed income is a monthly, no-strings-attached, cash payment given directly to individuals. It is unconditional, with no work requirements. The foundational idea behind a guaranteed income is that everyone should have enough money to meet their basic needs. A guaranteed income is intended to supplement, not replace, existing benefits.

Updates for the City of Birmingham’s Embrace Mothers pilot program and information about the applications process will be made available at www.birminghamal.gov/embracemothers.

To learn more about Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, visit www.mayorsforagi.org.