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.
“I work from 8 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon everyday, and anytime there is something I can do to earn a little extra … I do it. … I receive $92 a month in SNAP benefits (food stamps), which is not nearly enough to cover my grocery bill for the month. And that’s why I’m so grateful for MMT—I can go spend cash on some groceries, and my baby and I are still good. Cash is more helpful than SNAP because I can buy groceries with cash, but I can’t pay bills with SNAP.”