Denver to pay “gender nonconforming” homeless people $12,000 in universal basic income

By Matt Connelly
person sitting beside building looking straight to the street at golden hour

On Monday, Denver City Council unanimously approved a new “Denver Basic Income Project” initiative that will pay $12,000 in direct payments to homeless people in Denver. The funds will come from $2 million in federal COVID money. 

According to the Denver Post, “The Denver portion of the pilot program is also reserved exclusively for women, families and people who are gender nonconforming or nonbinary. Those groups have been identified as especially vulnerable to the economic impacts of COVID-19, city officials say.”

Further details on how “gender nonconforming or nonbinary” were especially vulnerable to the economic impacts of COVID-19 were not provided. 

It’s also unclear how the city plans to address the apparent contradiction between reserving the program for people who are “nonbinary” but also simultaneously for “women”. 

The Denver Post has more details on the program:

Denver is going to try a new tactic in its efforts to stem the tide of the metro area’s seemingly ever-growing homelessness crisis: providing $12,000 in direct payments to a small group of unhoused people over the course of a year to assess how it impacts their lives.

The city council on Monday approved the city’s participation in the Denver Basic Income Project. The contract passed unanimously as part of the council’s consent agenda without additional discussion, signaling broad support.

Using $2 million in federal COVID-19 relief money, the city will partner with program-runner Impact Charitable to provide 140 homeless individuals and households with payments over a 12-month period. Participants will be split into study groups. One group will receive $6,500 upfront and $500 a month for 11 months after that. Another group will receive $1,000 per month for a year, according to a presentation delivered by the city’s housing department last month.

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About the Author:

Matt Connelly is the founder of Campfire Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @MattConnelly.