Front and Center: ‘A Lot of Single Mothers Want to Work—They Just Don’t Have the Support or Family or Guidance’

Back for its third year, Front and Center is a groundbreaking Ms. series that offers first-person accounts of Black mothers living in Jackson, Miss., receiving a guaranteed income. First launched in 2018, the Magnolia Mother’s Trust is about to enter its fifth cohort, bringing the number of moms served to more than 400 and making it the longest-running guaranteed income program in the country. Across the country, guaranteed income pilots like MMT are finding that recipients are overwhelmingly using their payments for basic needs like groceries, housing and transportation.

“There are a lot of single mothers around here who want to work and just don’t have the support or family or guidance in front of them. That lack keeps them in the same position. For some people, all they have is themselves. … To know that I have a back up and can worry less about having enough gas or having to call on my mom. Now that I have this income coming in, I can save a little bit more. I can try to preserve a little bit more. There is light at the end of the tunnel.”