St. Louis Using Federal COVID Relief Funds to Send $500/Month to Poor Families

( – St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones signed the “The Working Families Bill” on Wednesday, which supports “St. Louisans recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic” by sending about $500 in cash, no strings attached, to more than 400 households every month for 18 months.

“Using $52 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, this legislation establishes Missouri’s first guaranteed basic income program to support public school children and their families, expands health care access for residents, and invests in public safety by creating new opportunities for youth,” the announcement said.

“St. Louis is back on the map, joining more than 20 cities across the country in piloting an innovative, forward-thinking guaranteed basic income program for city schoolchildren and their families,” said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones.

“From creating better opportunities for our youth to expanding access to healthcare, this bill is an investment directly in our communities still struggling to get back on their feet. Lifting families out of poverty makes our city stronger and safer.”

According to the bill’s text:


The St. Louis Treasurer’s Office will oversee the equitable and efficient disbursement of $4,000,000 of ARPA funds to St. Louis City residents. Disbursements will be made in the amount of $500/month for 18 months serving about 440 households. One million dollars ($1,000,000.00) shall be used for benefits counselors and program administrators.”

Families must meet three qualifications to receive the cash: Residents must be a parent or legal guardian of a child enrolled in a public school in the City of St. Louis; they must have suffered a negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; and be at or below 170% of federal poverty level based on family size/household income.

The bill also addresses “disparities in health care that have widened since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing $13 million to four St. Louis federally qualified health centers (FQHC) for expansion across North and South St. Louis,” the announcement said.

The bill was passed by the Board of Aldermen on December 13 by a vote of 21-1.

The City of St. Louis received $498,076,054 from the Federal Government under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.


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