Tacoma will once again partner with key stakeholders in the community to extend its guaranteed income demonstration, Growing Resilience In Tacoma (GRIT), to reach new households. United Way of Pierce County will lead program implementation, guided by recently published ALICE (Asset Limited, Income-Constrained. Employed) data showing that one in three Pierce County families make less income than needed to survive.
The first iteration of GRIT, which disbursed $500 a month to 110 Tacoma families from December 2021- December 2022, found that families were able to use the dollars to pay off debt, boost credit scores, move into secure housing, improve education and employment status, and relieve personal stress.
With growing private, philanthropic, and public support at the state level, GRIT has secured funding to deliver cash assistance to a new group of families in 2023 and 2024. The continuation of the pilot will enable families to pause, breathe, plan for their future, and meet their ever-changing financial needs, which is critical to address poverty and build intergenerational wealth.
The leadership and advocacy from Mayor Victoria Woodards, a founding member of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), Pierce County Council Chair Ryan Mello, a founding member of Counties for a Guaranteed Income (CGI), and Dona Ponepinto, President and CEO of United Way of Pierce County, were instrumental in securing additional funds to continue this program.
State House Speaker Laurie Jinkins (27th Legislative District) saw the positive impact GRIT had in Tacoma and was an important leader in getting state funding appropriated for the program to continue. Her shown leadership will directly support Tacoma families.
“We are dedicated to investing directly in our community. By continuing the GRIT program, we intend to continue showing the life-changing impacts unrestricted cash support can have and advocating for the expansion of similar programs. Our neighbors are doing enough, and our work is to create pathways into self-sufficiency,” said Woodards, Mello and Ponepinto in a joint statement.
Here are quotes from actual GRIT Participants:
“I can breathe easier for a moment instead of worrying myself to death about money, working extra hours, and hours of lost sleep due to the mental and physical effects of not knowing how I will provide for my family.”
“GRIT has helped me in ways I didn’t expect, and those payments helped me be able to afford the expensive tutoring that my 11-year-old really needed. It’s changed my house for the better. And I’ve felt so much less month-to-month stress since this program started. It feels like I have some room to breathe.”
GRIT program details in 2023 and 2024 are expected to be released in the following months. Updates and additional information are available at https://www.uwpc.org/growing-resilience-tacoma-grit-guaranteed-income-demonstration.