People In Chelsea's Guaranteed Income Program Spent Most Of Money On Food

CHELSEA, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A study from Harvard's Rappaport Institute has found that participants in Chelsea's guaranteed income program spent most of their money on food.

The program was called "Chelsea Eats," and gave money directly to needy residents in the form of debit cards. The program was managed by a partnership between Chelsea and the Shah Family Foundation. Jill Shah, President of the Shah Family Foundation, called Chelsea Eats the largest guaranteed income project in the country.

Around 2,000 households were chosen to receive the debit cards out of approximately 3,100 applicants, and each debit card could contain between $100-$400 depending on the size of the family applying.

The study from Harvard found that most of the money spent on the cards went towards local grocery stores and wholesalers, including a nearly a third of the spending towards Market Basket alone.

Out of the nearly $2.1 million spent across the program, 73% went toward stores that mostly sell food. Around 60% of the money stayed in Chelsea, going to shops and stores in the city.

Bob Giannino, the CEO of the Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley United Way, said the findings are not surprising. "The money is being infused right into the local economy. It's obvious that families are utilizing these resources to put food on their table, to put clothing on their children's backs," he said.

Another key finding in the study: just 0.4% of the money was spent on liquor stores and smokeshops.

The income requirements for the program were fairly strict, and a family household of four would need to bring in $38,350 or less to qualify.

WBZ's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) has more:

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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