Checks In the Mail to Ulster County Residents

KINGSTON – Ulster County Executive Ryan announced that the first round of $500 checks from Ulster County’s Project Resilience Universal Basic Income (UBI) Pilot Program has gone out to residents selected to participate. Announced in County Executive Ryan’s State of the County address in February, the program received over 4,200 applicants. The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Center for Guaranteed Income, serving as the research lead for the project, selected 100 qualifying individuals to participate in the program and 100 individuals to participate in the control group of the study through a lottery system. Participating residents have reported that they plan to use funds to pay for critical needs such as medical expenses, paying down student debt, and working to become a first time home buyer.

“I am very excited that Ulster County is the first county in the country to undertake a large-scale UBI pilot program, where we will provide much-needed economic relief directly to families across the county,” said County Executive Pat Ryan. “Providing our first direct relief payments is a major milestone in this process. We look forward to seeing the impact on the lives of our residents and participating in the national conversation about the importance of creating this policy to help people in need across the country.”

Last month, UPenn notified the 200 people of the group that they have been placed in (control or participant) and scheduled individual check-ins with the participant group to identify any impact on each person’s current benefits. Interviews were conducted by Melida Dessalines who has been selected as UPenn’s Local Research Fellow. Dessalines is a local Kingston resident who has received her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Albany and is a first-generation U.S. Citizen and first-generation college graduate. She worked alongside Kim Mapes, who runs the Restorative Justice and Community Empowerment Center, to conduct these initial check-ins.

Over the coming year, participants will submit quarterly surveys to track improvements in their mental health, physical health, and employment status. They will also have individual interviews with UPenn over the summer to document the stories of each participant.

Ulster County is the first county in the country to undertake a large-scale universal basic income pilot program. This program will provide much-needed economic relief directly to families throughout the county. Through a partnership between Project Resilience, the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Guaranteed Income, Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, and Ulster Savings Bank, Ulster County will be providing 100 qualifying households with direct relief payments of $500 a month for an entire year, all funded through the generosity of community donations.

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