EVANSTON, Ill. — Residents of Evanston, check your mail.

The first payments in Evanston’s Guaranteed Income Pilot Program were issued Thursday. It’s the first of 12 $500 monthly distributions that 150 randomly selected eligible individuals and families will receive on a pre-paid debit card. 

Funding for this program comes from Evanston’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Northwestern University and the Evanston Community Foundation.

Evanston Mayor Daniel Bliss says the idea behind the guaranteed income movement is to help people while debunking the myth that “poor people can’t be trusted to spend money in their own best interest.” 

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Evanston joins Chicago and Cook County as well as dozens of other jurisdictions.

There are no restrictions on how recipients may spend the money.