Guaranteed Income Moves Forward in Texas

On the same day a Harris County judge refused to block a guaranteed income pilot, Austin’s City Council unanimously voted to approve the next phase of its cash transfer initiative.

Austin City Council approved Family Stabilization Grants, a $1.3 million initiative that builds on a successful guaranteed income pilot led by the City that ended in August 2023.  UpTogether, which managed the guaranteed income pilot for the City, will continue in that role for this next phase.

“Austin has learned that investing in individuals and families helps them achieve their goals and attain financial stability,” said UpTogether CEO Jesús Gerena. “People know what’s best for their own lives and can find their own pathways to getting ahead.”

Family Stabilization Grants will invest $1,000 a month for 12 months in 160 families. Of those families, 96 will be funded by the City of Austin, while 64 will be funded through philanthropic support from St. David’s Foundation, Google, Austin Community Foundation, and other local donors.

Guaranteed income initiatives face a threat from State Attorney General Ken Paxton, who filed a lawsuit to block Uplift Harris, which will invest $500 a month in nearly 2,000 Houston-area families. Fortunately, a judge blocked Paxton’s request for a restraining order that would have halted the pilot pending a final ruling.

“Today was a victory, but the fight is not over. We will continue to demonstrate investing in families is an approach that works,” said Gerena. “The Attorney General wants to strip local governments of their constitutional right to invest in families experiencing hardship. Meanwhile, we give money to large corporations without thinking twice.”  

In Austin, the Urban Institute studied the City’s first pilot and found participants spent a majority of funds on housing, had stable employment and increased their housing and food security.

UpTogether and our partners have invested more than $40.5 million in more than 43,500 individuals and families in Texas since 2020.


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