PATERSON, N.J. — In an effort to address the country‘s wealth gap and help the underserved reach financial stability, the city of Paterson officially launched its “guaranteed income” pilot program Thursday.
Monserrata Reyes has 400 reasons to smile.
She was among the 110 Paterson residents selected to take part in the program.
“I was surprised when somebody from here called me,” she said, referencing the mayor’s office.
As part of the program, participants were issued debit cards where a payment of $400 is wired in every month for the next 12 months.
MoCaFi — a financial tech startup — is partnering with Paterson to provide the service that is already making an impact on the community.
“When they got the phone call, one person was undergoing chemotherapy and that was the kind of calls she needed to get,” said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh.
CEO and Founder of MoCaFi Wole Coaxum called the program “a model for the country moving forward.”
One of the main goals of the program is to help members of the community gain a financial footprint which will then open up more opportunities for the future. While most participants are expected to spend the funds on groceries, if they choose to pay rent, MoCaFi Will have the ability to report the payments to the credit bureaus.
Considered a game changer for the community, the city’s initiative puts the country’s wealth gap in the spotlight. The program, which Is one of about a dozen up and running in cities across the country, is being funded by a donation of $500,000 from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
Additional funding will determine its expansion beyond 2022.