FILE - Mayor Elaine O'Neal

Mayor Elaine O'Neal of Durham, N.C., left, and County Judge Lina Hidalgo of Harris County, Texas, right, listen as President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with state and local elected officials in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Washington. 

(The Center Square) — A North Carolina city is more than halfway through its guaranteed income pilot program that gives a $500 a month stipend to 109 formerly incarcerated people.

Durham's guaranteed income pilot program started with the disbursements in March and will continue through February, according to Syretta Hill, executive director of StepUp Durham, the nonprofit that runs the program. The pilot program will cost $800,000.

The city stated, "Guaranteed income is meant to supplement, rather than replace, the existing social safety net and can be a tool for racial and gender equity."

Critics of guaranteed income projects say that for these plans to work, it should replace and not just supplement other forms of welfare programs.

Amber Wade, the assistant to Durham Mayor Elaine O’Neal, said the city has received positive reactions to the program from the community.

“We believe a guaranteed income can help ensure a successful transition home by providing a much-needed additional source of income to give people time to build a new life,” Wade said.

Results of the program are expected to more roundly known next summer.

“The City Council has been very supportive of this program and will be following the results closely when discussing next steps,” Wade said.

Durham is part of a network of cities across the country implementing guaranteed income projects. Mayors have promoted these programs under a group called Mayors for a Guaranteed Income.

Mayors for a Guaranteed Income says it is committed to bringing guaranteed income pilot programs to all American cities, reporting that more than 44 cities have already implemented programs.

According to its 2021-22 report, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income predicts more than $200 million will be provided through guaranteed income programs around the U.S.