Ulster County To Implement Universal Income

Ulster County will be participating in a universal income pilot program as well as a multitude of new Green New Deal programs starting this year. Photo courtesy of Times Hudson Valley.

Ulster County will be one of the very first counties to be a part of a universal income pilot program called Project Resilience according to an announcement by Executive Pat Ryan on Feb. 16.

Through partnerships with Project Resilience, the University Of Pennsylvania’s Center for Guaranteed Income, Community Foundation of the Hudson Valley and Ulster Savings Bank, Ulster County will provide 100 eligible households with direct payments of $500 a month for a year. It will all be funded by community donations, with no additional cost to taxpayers.
The announcement was delivered on Facebook Live during Ryans’ second State of the County Address.

The payments will be distributed beginning May 1, until April 30, 2022, a total of $6,000 per resident.

To qualify for the program you must be a resident of Ulster County with an annual income of $46,900 or less. Participants will be chosen via lottery by the University of Pennsylvania.

The application asks for your first name, last name, full address, race/ethnicity, gender, email and date of birth.

Two groups will be selected; group one will include 100 residents who will receive the monthly $500 and group two will also include 100 residents who will be invited to participate in research activities.

If selected, there will be no requirements and you will be allowed to spend the money with no restrictions.

A GoFundMe has been created by DJ Hines to raise funds for Project Resilience. As of Feb. 22, it has raised $232,478 of its $1,000,000 goal.

“I’m very excited that in 2021 Ulster County will become one of the first counties in the country to undertake a large-scale universal basic income pilot program — where we’ll provide much-needed economic relief directly to families throughout the county,” Ryan said. “By teaming up with one of the world’s leaders on UBI, we can start to better understand what $500 a month for an entire year will mean for a single parent, a recent SUNY Ulster graduate or a member of our senior community.”

Additionally, Ulster county will be implementing and expanding on multiple County Green New Deal programs.

Three Green New Deals will also be implemented and expanded starting this year. They are Solarize Ulster, Green Careers Academy and Green Business Champions Program.

Through the Solarize Ulster program, residents will subscribe to a shared solar farm in their community and receive a portion of the generated energy replacing the typical electricity usage. This farm will bring solar energy into the local utility grid while simultaneously receiving power from Central Hudson.

The state will be provided incentives in the form of credit on residents’ utility bills as a way to promote the use of solar energy.

The program will work to dramatically increase efforts to increase the use of renewable energy locally.

The Green Careers Academy was launched in 2019 with SUNY Ulster. This year it will be dramatically expanded, partnering with Ulster BOCES, Bard College, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Central Hudson, Citizens for Local Power, Habitat for Humanity, The Climate Reality Project and several local labor unions to help train residents and help them receive well paid green jobs.

Lastly, the Green Business Champions Program will both incentivize companies to switch to renewable energy while recognizing businesses that are already doing so. The program will support those who want to make their business greener and help the environment.

Ryan also mentioned in his address to look out for new Ulster County Green New Deal programs. On Earth Day, April 22, he will be releasing a new comprehensive plan to build on Ulster County Green New Deal efforts.

To check your eligibility or to apply go to ProjectResilienceUBI.com by March 15. To donate to the GoFundMe, visit: www.gofundme.com/f/project-resilient. Or if you’d like to contribute via check, you can make a check out to United Way of Ulster County/Project Resilience and send via mail to United Way of Ulster County; 450 Albany Ave., Kingston, NY 12401.

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About Zoe Woolrich 58 Articles
Zoe Woolrich (she/her) is the Editor-in-Chief of The Oracle. Over the past five semesters she has served as Copy Editor, News Editor and Managing Editor. She is fourth-year media management major from New York City. You can contact her at woolricz1@newpaltz.edu.