The health department plans to make this possible for approximately 250 pregnant Philadelphians through the Philly Joy Bank, with the goal of reducing racial disparities in birth outcomes.
The payments are “no-strings-attached,” according to a news release.
Of the top 10 most populated cities across the country, Philadelphia has the highest rate of infant mortality, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health says, and Black infants in the city are more than four times more likely to die before their first birthday than white infants.
“Infant mortality in Philadelphia is a solvable crisis,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. “We know that being able to better support pregnant people and new parents helps keep babies alive. As the poorest big city in the country, this is not always easy, especially in areas of the city that are being crushed by generational poverty and systemic racism. The Philly Joy Bank draws on the successes of other no-strings-attached guaranteed income projects to help break those cycles.”
Along with the additional income, those participating in the program will also be offered support, including financial counseling, voluntary home visiting, lactation help and doulas.
To be eligible for the program, the health department says Philadelphia residents must be pregnant, have a household income of less than $100,000 per year and live in one of the neighborhoods with the highest rates of low birth weight: Cobbs Creek, Strawberry Mansion and Nicetown-Tioga.
The city hopes to launch the program in early 2024.