Rochester now taking applications for Guaranteed Basic Income

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Applications opened for the City of Rochester’s guaranteed basic income program at 10 a.m. Thursday. Under this program, 351 people who qualify will get $500 a month for a year.

Forty-five minutes after that online application opened, more than 2,000 people signed up.

To apply, you need to be over 18, live within city limits, and have a household income at or below 185% of the federal poverty level. That number changes depending on your family size.

The city says that later this summer it will be choosing 351 people at random from those who apply. The application closes at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, June 29.

Sheila Carpenter signed up for the GBI program Thursday, along with thousands of other city residents.
“I am basically a single mom of six kids. So that extra income would be a huge help, especially with school costs coming up in the fall,” she said.

The online application can be filled out anywhere, but those who may need help have a few options. They can stop in at a City of Rochester library, a neighborhood center, or one of the GBI program’s community partners, like Community Connections. That’s a satellite site, for people to come directly to a neighborhood hub and apply.

Another satellite site is the Ibero Community Resource Center. Since they opened Thursday morning, they have helped several people fill out the application — including me. i worked with a resource center case manager to see what exactly someone has to do to apply.

Case manager Carmen Rosa-Rivera asked for things like my name, birthday, salary, and address. she asked me whom I live with, and their age. she also asked me some questions about my emotional status, such as “In the last month, how often have you felt confident about your ability to handle personal problems?”

Rosa-Rivera also asked if I received other benefits, like SNAP or Social Security. Those benefits may be affected by GBI. but everyone eligible is still encouraged to apply — those chosen can meet with a financial advisor before starting.