Community Action Agency
The Las Cruces Family Prosperity (LCFP) Demonstration Project aims to lift 150 Las Cruces families disproportionately affected by the pandemic out of poverty through direct cash assistance by providing recurring monthly payments of $500 for 18 months. Up to 200 additional Las Cruces families will receive a total of $550 for participating in data collection as a comparison group. Approximately $1,1460,000 of the request will go directly to about 450 homes, with an immediate economic impact on the local economy.
The goals of the Las Cruces Family Prosperity Demonstration Project are to determine if guarantee basic income has the potential to 1) lift Las Crucens out of poverty through direct cash assistance, also known as provision of guaranteed basic income, 2) positively impact households to include enhancing employment prospects, lowering debt, establishing savings, stabilizing housing security, and allowing for income-focused goals, 3) quantitatively monitor such child/family outcomes such as financial stress, anxiety, depression, child school attendance, family food security and others, and 4) solidy the demonstration effort and take other key external funders for expansion.
Family's Survey Objectives (Responses of Active group are evaluated against Comparison group):
Through monthly and bi-annual questionnaires, quantitively assess:
- Increase Financial resiliency by 5% after 18 months
- Reduce Financial stress by 5% after 18 months
- Examine how the monthly cash support is utilized
- Examine the local economic impact of cash support
- Examine changes in income (not counting the cash support)
- Examine changes in debt
- Examine changes in employment
- Examine changes in housing
- Examine changes in household composition
- Examine physical health
- Examine emotional health
- Examine psychological distress
Rationale for the Project
In Las Cruces, the poverty rate is over 26.4%. A more alarming statistic is that 38.3% of children under 18 live in poverty, and for those under five, the poverty rate is as high as 39.8% (U.S. Census, Las Cruces, NM Metro Area). Families already living in poverty and those who lost jobs or had hours reduced were impacted by COVID-19.
The loss of loved ones, already a tragedy, became a source of economic strain during the pandemic. Family members who had previously served as lifelines and support systems passed away or become so ill they could no longer be relied upon. Community resources quickly disappeared as the sheer demand for aid and assistance outpaced the capacity of serve providers. Even before the pandemic, 40% of Americans could not afford a $400 emergency. Research has shown that when people are given unrestricted cash payments, recipients can pull themselves out of poverty, plan for the future and create stability for themselves and their families (Economic Security Project, 2019). Guaranteed income gives recipients more freedom, dignity, and self-determination to choose for their financial well-being.
Decrease the number of families living in poverty (80% of Area Median Income) through ongoing or supplemental financial assistance and the freedom to proactively plan for a more financially stable future.