An immigrant resettlement agency, the St. Paul-based International Institute of Minnesota, has launched the first guaranteed income program for refugees in the US. More than half of the households are newly-arrived Afghan families. The 25 families will receive $750 per month for 12 months, unconditionally. The project is funded solely through private donations and foundation grants but the City of St. Paul helped secure the funding and is playing an advisory role. Kasey Wiedrich, the city's financial capability manager, says St. Paul administered similar guaranteed income programs to help low-income families during the pandemic.“Giving people flexibility in these uncertain times has been really effective,” she says. The institute began enrolling households in April and sent out the first checks in May. By August, the institute had enrolled its 25th household. Eligible households have refugee, Special Immigrant Visa, or Humanitarian Parole status and face specific barriers to employment.

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