Front and Center: ‘We Should Have Daycares and Vouchers so People Can Actually Work,’ Says Mississippi Single Mom

Front and Center highlights the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which this year will give $1,000 per month for 12 months to 100 families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing.

“I know we don’t have the monthly child tax credit anymore because politicians think giving people money will stop them from working. But I think they need to actually listen to our stories. People want to work, but things stop them from being able to. Who is going to watch the kids? I’ve brought my daughter to work before when I couldn’t get childcare. She’d just sit there in the lobby and wait for me. But kids shouldn’t have to do that. We should have daycares and vouchers so that people actually can work.”

Guaranteed Income Is a Blueprint for a Better Social Safety Net: ‘Give People Money—Not Vouchers, Not Subsidies’

Many programs also have strict requirements that—by design—prevent low-income people from accessing the benefits they deserve. Traditional welfare policies are often paternalistic and controlling, requiring low-income women to use benefits in specific ways, or forcing them into situations that don’t work well for their family’s needs. 

A federal guaranteed income program is an opportunity to design a social safety net that takes social and historical context into account, empowers low-income parents and ends cycles of poverty.

Front and Center: ‘Before the Magnolia Mother’s Trust, I Was Working Seven Days a Week’

Front and Center highlights the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which this year will give $1,000 per month for 12 months to 100 families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing.

“It’s been a few months of getting the guaranteed income, and I definitely see an increase in happiness with both me and my kids. I still have to budget, but I’m able to get them more things that they need and even have some left over to be able to reward them with little extras when I can — though making sure my bills are all paid up is always my number one priority.”

Front and Center: Before Guaranteed Income and the Child Tax Credit, ‘Some Months I Would Fall Very Short’

Front and Center highlights the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which this year will give $1,000 per month for 12 months to 100 families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing.

“When people say that programs like this will stop people from working, it just makes no sense to me. $1,000 isn’t enough for me to quit my job and is less than what I make, and what I make from working isn’t enough to cover all my bills. People like me need more income.”

A Federal Guaranteed Income Policy Could End Generational Cycles of Poverty

Students in majority-Black schools are on average 12 months behind their peers in majority-white schools, due in large part to COVID-19 disruptions. This widening education gap is a devastating sign that many Black children will continue to be marginalized by structural racism and classism throughout their lives.

Guaranteed income is one way to reduce some of the structural barriers low-income children face. Unrestricted payments allow parents to prioritize their specific needs and can open up a wide range of new opportunities.

Front and Center: With Guaranteed Income, “Now I Can Cover My Bills and Do Fun Things for My Son”

Front and Center highlights the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which this year will give $1,000 per month for 12 months to 100 families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing.

“It was really unbelievable when I got the call a few months ago that I would be part of the Magnolia Mother’s Trust and start receiving $1,000 each month. … I really believe that there should be a program like the Magnolia Mother’s Trust for all the people living in poverty who need it, especially moms.”

Why Black Women Must Remain Front and Center

It’s been just over a year since we launched Front and Center—our series centering the low-income Black women of the Magnolia Mother’s Trust guaranteed income project in Jackson, Miss.

From the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, to the cruelty of Mississippi state legislators who refuse to expand postpartum Medicaid access, the disregard displayed toward Black women shows us that our work here is not done.

The Differences Between UBI and Guaranteed Income Reveal the Importance of Equity

Many anti-poverty groups agree that strategically targeted guaranteed income, not universal basic income, is the best path forward to ending poverty, advancing gender and racial equity and supporting low-income Americans.

That’s why guaranteed income programs like the Magnolia Mother’s Trust (MMT) focus on low-income Black women to address the deeply entrenched economic inequities caused by systemic racism and sexism. MMT moms have used their monthly payments to go back to school, find stable housing, escape predatory cycles of debt and start their own businesses.