- FILE PHOTO
- Rochester City Hall.
The legislation appropriates $2.2 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to provide $500 per month for one year to 175 individuals in households with income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The second year of the program will provide the same monthly amount to a different group of 175 people.
Before she left office at the end of November, former Mayor Lovely Warren submitted the legislation saying that “The quickest path for Rochester families to escape poverty and build generational wealth is through the establishment of a guaranteed basic income.”
The legislation allows the city to establish a contract with The Black Community Focus Fund, Inc., led by Rev. Myra Brown, to administer the program.
Guaranteed or Universal Basic Income programs have been implemented or proposed in a number of other communities around the nation.
Mayor-elect Malik Evans supports the concept, but indicated he would like to explore the possibility of an even larger program, possibly with the help of philanthropic support.
Also on Tuesday night, City Council approved legislation related to public spaces in the city that have been named after individuals who enslaved people.
- PHOTO BY RYAN WILLIAMSON
- Rochester City Council President Loretta Scott.
The resolution urges the city administration to continue the survey of public spaces and to "rename all public places that are named after slaveholders."
The measure notes that Rochester’s past includes many individuals who deserve public spaces named after them.
Among the examples mentioned in the resolution are Austin Steward, an African American abolitionist, author and businessman who wrote a memoir in the 1800s called, ‘Twenty-Two Years a Slave, and Forty years a Freeman,’ and James McCuller, who led Action for a Better Community in Rochester for a number of years starting in 1968.
Randy Gorbman is the news director at WXXI News, a media partner of CITY.