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Income program inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King helps 200 Paterson residents make ends meet

Two hundred people were selected to receive $400 tax-free every month for 12 months.

Naomi Yané

Dec 27, 2023, 3:44 AM

Updated 179 days ago


Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s advocacy for a guaranteed income program in the United States, City of Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh’s guaranteed income initiative will be helping more residents make ends meet, especially now during the holidays.
Paterson native and nursing student Mariana Tavera says she was feeling the financial squeeze, but relief came right on time.
"When I applied, I was like this could be very helpful because Christmas is coming, and it’s around the holiday, and things have gotten very expensive," Tavera said.
Earlier this year, over 6,000 Paterson natives applied to the Guaranteed Income Program, a program designed to help ease financial struggles for low-income residents.
Tavera was one of the 200 people selected to receive $400 tax-free every month for 12 months. Residents entered a lottery-based system and were notified if they were selected.
Last year, some 5,000 residents applied and just over 100 residents were selected.
"There is a significant need in our community. We’re trying to empower Patersonians. Our goal, what we said a few years ago, was to do more for people with less," Sayegh said.
So where does the money come from? According to the mayor, the first time the city participated, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey donated $500,000. Then, Charles Florio, a major investor in Paterson, contributed to expand the program.
American Rescue Plan money has also been used toward this program that helps people like Tavera make ends meet.
"I wake up everyday, and we work hard, and we try to do the best we can and just to provide for our families and for ourselves to get the things we need and the things we want," she said.

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