GRIT 2.0 FAQ's

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The GRIT Application portal has been closed.

If you applied for the GRIT 2.0 program, we thank you for your application.  The 175 GRIT Participants have been chosen for 2024. If you were chosen, you have been notified by email. Thank you once again.

The GRIT Team

Tacoma’s Growing Resilience in Tacoma (GRIT) 2.0 Guaranteed Income Demonstration FAQs

What is GRIT?
Growing Resilience in Tacoma (GRIT) is a guaranteed income demonstration. The first GRIT pilot was a collaboration between Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, the City of Tacoma, and United Way Pierce County that  provided Tacoma a unique opportunity to support local organizations and communities, take part in a national research project, be on the leading edge of economic policy exploration, and push national advocacy – all without pulling from city taxes. The program served 110 Tacoma ALICE families in 2022.
The second demonstration of GRIT is funded through proviso dollars from Washington State Bill 5187. The program will again be administered through United Way, in partnership with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, City of Tacoma, and Pierce County, and continues to be a natural evolution of work already being undertaken in our community to dismantle poverty. It is additive to City, County, State or National efforts aimed at improving child welfare, reforming childcare systems, supporting affordable housing initiatives, advancing women’s economic empowerment and reducing poverty.  This second GRIT demonstration is an effort to provide more diverse examples of success that are necessary to demonstrate the need for, and to inform, new State and Federal policies.

What’s the idea behind a guaranteed income?
It’s a proven, effective way to combat several factors that stifle economic mobility, including the coronavirus pandemic and its near and long-term economic fallout, our country’s history of entrenched poverty that hasn’t ebbed in decades, and the growing concentration of wealth at the very top.

Why should Guaranteed Income be implemented?
Before the pandemic, nearly 40% of Americans reported they couldn’t afford a $400 unexpected expense. Our economic status remains uncertain and our communities need help. GRIT is an effective step toward addressing:
Poverty: Before the COVID-19 crisis, 40% of Tacoma residents were struggling to make ends meet and identified as Asset Limited, Income Constrained while Employed (ALICE). 
Support for Basic Needs: The cost of health care, utilities, transportation, and other essential living expenses is over $72,000 in Tacoma/Pierce County, yet 50% of residents don’t have a combined income over $72,000.
Guaranteed income will supplement, rather than replace, the existing social safety net and can be a critical tool for improving economic, racial and gender equity.

What is Guaranteed Income? How is it different from other conditional and unconditional programs like Universal Basic Income and Cash Transfer Programs?
Guaranteed Income is focused on serving populations that are disproportionately affected by economic challenges. It is not a replacement for wages but a much-needed supplement to families who desperately need a financial safety net. In Tacoma, $500 can pay utility bills or repair a car.  It’s enough to keep people on their feet and able to take the next step toward financial stability.
Universal Basic Income is unconditional and meant for all community members and would provide enough of a payment to cover all basic needs. 
Cash Transfer Programs provide money transfers to families to reduce poverty and may include conditions such as investments in the education and health of children. 

Why are you giving participants cash?
Research shows that recipients of cash transfer programs overwhelmingly use the money for basic needs – housing, utilities, food, unexpected medical costs or other financial emergencies. The pandemic has shown us we should not be putting up barriers to desperately-needed aid. We need to reverse the historical belief and stereotype that poor people won’t make smart financial choices. Data proves that they do, and we should honor and support people addressing crises in the way that allows them to thrive on their own terms.

Won’t participants stop working?
First, several international cash transfer initiatives over decades show no effect on the labor market. The most recent of which was done in Alaska, where they’ve had a guaranteed income for nearly 40 years.
Second, we’re talking about $500. Would you quit your job for $6,000 a year? Guaranteed income is not a replacement for work, it’s a much-needed financial floor to supplement families who desperately need an economic safety net. A few hundred dollars a month can make a real difference in whether Tacomans can keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Guaranteed income has helped recipients quit a bad job and look for new employment, pay for childcare, and relieve debt. 

Who gets to choose who participates and receives the monthly payments?
Participants are selected by randomly from a pool of qualified individuals. Qualified individuals must be Tacoma residents, single heads of household, and meet United Way’s ALICE criteria (Asset Limited, Income Constrained while Employed).

How many recipients will be selected?
Around 175 participants will be selected as recipients.

If I’m not selected as a recipient, can I still receive the $500?
Unfortunately, no.

Who is eligible for the program?
Qualified individuals met the following criteria:
Live in on of these zip codes: 98404, 98405, 98408, 98409, 98418, 98444, 98445.
A single head of household with children 17 years or younger, or 21 years or younger if the child has a disability.
Earn income between 100% and 200% of the federal poverty level.
18 - 65 years old.

How will we know if GRIT is successful?
For the current demonstration, quarterly reports will be provided to DSHS and a final report will be published in August 2025 that will highlight the program and the impact the funds had on recipients.

What will happen if GRIT is successful?
Our hope is that the data and stories produced by both GRIT demonstrations will lead to a guaranteed income being adopted at the local, state, or national level.