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The Guaranteed Income Program helps single mothers make ends meet

CHICAGO — Adriana Flores, a single mother of two boys, watches every dollar, and even though she works full-time as an educator, she makes less than $40,000 a year.

Last year, he could only dream of supplying new footballs for his sons.

“We could,” Flores told CBS News. “But how horrible is it to live your life? That’s not enjoying it.”

However, thanks to a new $500 monthly payment she’ll receive for the next two years, she’s able to do more than just get by.

“I don’t stress as much because I have that little cushion,” Flores said.

A Chicago-area mom is one of more than 3,200 families receiving direct payments in the first-ever Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income pilot program for low-income families.

“Money is unconditional and unregulated,” explains Harish I. Patel with the Economic Security Project, a group that advocates for guaranteed income programs.

Cook County’s program is one of 130 similar Guaranteed Income Pilot Program In 32 states and Washington, D.C., there are public and private funds and offer monthly stipends ranging from $50 to $1,500, according to data from the Economic Security Project.

“What we’ve seen is people, especially moms, are spending money on diapers for their kids, food, sometimes getting that interview so they can get a full-time job, or start a small business,” Patel said. “That’s really where all the cash is going.”

Thanks to the extra income, Flores was able to rent a prom tuxedo for his son, Isaiah, while his other son, Elias, now has proper football gear.

“Seeing that joy on their faces when I’m like, ‘Oh, you know, I can pay for that, I can pay for that,’ you know, I love it,” Flores said.

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Janet Shamlian

Janet Shamlian

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