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International Institute of Minnesota starts new guaranteed income program for immigrants

The International Institute of Minnesota is piloting a new guaranteed income project.

MINNEAPOLIS — For decades, the International Institute of Minnesota has helped to provide services to immigrants and refugees and now, they're taking on a new pilot program.

"The mayor's office contacted us to see if we were interested in piloting a guaranteed income project, and so of course, we were very interested," said Jane Graupman, Executive Director.

Graupman says the program started enrollment efforts in April of this year. 

"In this case, it provides 25 families that we work with that will receive $750 per month, for 12 months and we were just really excited about it," Graupman said. "The majority of people are from Afghanistan, the rest are diverse, from Guatemala, some Congolese, clients from Sudan, Ethiopia."

Graupman says the City of Saint Paul's Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) helped secure funding for this pilot through foundations and private funding, although the City of Saint Paul is not funding the initiative. 

OFE and the City’s Immigrant & Refugee Program will serve as ongoing partners and advisors to the new pilot throughout implementation, sharing insights from the St. Paul's People’s Prosperity Guaranteed Income Pilot.

Eligible households were resettled by the Institute; have refugee, SIV or Humanitarian Parole status; and meet one of the following criteria, which are a barrier to employment:

 Single-parent households with children under the age of 15

 Families with four or more children, with one working parent and one parent with obstacles to employment

 Single adults with physical or mental illness limiting their ability to work or obtain employment

 Families or single adults unable

"The impact these checks have on the families in our programs is astounding,” said St. Paul Mayor, Melvin Carter. “It’s exciting to see more people invest in this impactful idea of providing extra income to those in need. This bold strategy connects families to the greater prosperity our communities have to offer.”

"We know how difficult it is to transition to a new country, and last year, with Afghan arrivals, and Ukranian arrivals, and other people it's a big transition for people, and to have extra income, takes the pressure off," said Graupman.

The pilot will be evaluated by Dr. Kalen Flynn, Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work and a Lead Investigator with the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Guaranteed Income Research.

For more information on programs and services at the International Institute of Minnesota, visit the website here.

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