After launching in Atlanta, rural Georgia is the next step in this guaranteed income pilot

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On a hot June afternoon, Bowden and Peterkin rearranged the tables in a classroom at a local technical college and put on some music. Within hours, about a dozen mostly older women sought help.

Everene Evans walked in wearing a bright orange dress and wide-brimmed sun hat.

“I try to keep it cool,” the 78-year-old said happily.

When she first heard about the program from a staff member standing outside the local Piggly Wiggly, she was shocked at the amount: $850 per month. It’s $20,000 over two years.

Rural residents generally have access to far fewer resources from government and non-profit organizations. Often the only support they receive comes from long-standing federal benefit programs like food stamps and disability, which often don’t provide enough money for people to live comfortably.

Evans said his only source of income was his Social Security check. If she’s selected for the pilot, she already has a plan for the money – saving it.

“Really, I would, for the hard times. Because nowadays we will need everything we can get,” she said.

To some extent, the hard times have already arrived. Many people living in this part of Georgia have fixed incomes, which makes them especially vulnerable to the recent rise in costs due to inflation. Evans said she felt it personally.

“The gas tank…the food and then you go into the store now and some of the shelves are empty,” she said.

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