A new program designed to address the racial wealth gap will provide roughly $850 per month to hundreds of Black women in Georgia

A coalition of local elected officials known as the Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund is partnering with a nonprofit organization named GiveDirectly to lead the "In Her Hands" initiative, which aims to reward up to 650 Black women in the state. The program, which is scheduled to start early next year, plans to distribute more than $13 million. That would make it one of the largest guaranteed-income pilot program in the country, according to HuffPost

Members of the GRO Fund hope to boost the mental health of Black women while also providing financial stability. Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, an area where incoming inequality is especially noticeable, is expected to receive the first round of funds. 

According to the GiveDirectly website, the program is particularly vital for Black women because they “face more economic insecurity as a result of systemic barriers like pay inequality and fewer economic buffers than nearly any other demographic in Georgia.”

“Black women are among the most likely groups to experience cash shortfalls that make covering basic needs difficult. This isn’t the result of poor choices; it’s the result of pervasive economic insecurity that has the sharpest impacts on women and communities of color,” Hope Wollensack, executive director of the GRO Fund, said. “Guaranteed income is a step toward creating a more just and equitable economy.”

The process of providing guaranteed income, free money with no strings attached, has produced positive results in countries such as Kenya and India, according to HuffPost. The countries have seen improvements in health and well-being as a result of such programs. 

Other regions in the U.S. have also applied similar initiatives, including Stockton, California, where 125 people received $500 in cash each month for a year. In Mississippi, Magnolia Mother’s Trust provided $1,000 per month to Black moms. There is also a guaranteed incoming program currently running in Oakland, California, where 600 low-income families are getting $500 per month, HuffPost reports.

Earlier this year, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced legislation that would provide $1,200 a month to most Americans.