Rise Up Cambridge is here!

Rise Up Cambridge is here!

We are excited to announce the launch of Rise Up Cambridge, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at reducing poverty among families in the city by building financial security. The program, which is set to begin accepting applications on June 1, 2023, will provide direct cash assistance to all Cambridge households with at least one child 21 years of younger, earning at or below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, with $500 per month for 18 months. This $22 million program is the only city-wide cash assistance program of its kind in the country and is being funded through the American Rescue Plan Act. Rise Up Cambridge is a City of Cambridge program in partnership with Mayor Siddiqui, Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee (CEOC), and the Cambridge Community Foundation.

With this program, Cambridge becomes the first city in the nation to introduce a non-lottery program to provide direct cash assistance to all eligible families. Eligibility for public benefits like SNAP, TANF, SSI, and income-restricted housing benefits will not be affected. The goal of Rise Up Cambridge is to equip families with economic mobility through direct cash assistance for families with children to allow them to meet their basic needs. The program is built on the success of the Cambridge RISE pilot and is aimed at creating better outcomes for children and establishing financial stability for families. Rise Up Cambridge aims to address the growing economic divide and racial inequities in Cambridge, while maintaining the city’s diverse population and making it a place where all families can thrive.

CEOC will be assisting residents with the applications at sites across the city, and will be conducting outreach over the next several months in seven different languages. “This program is critical because people in poverty can develop a sense of hopelessness that they’ll never reach financial stability — despite often working 2-3 jobs,” said our Executive Director, Tina Alu. “I’m always happy to live and work in Cambridge, but on days like this, I’m especially proud,” she said.

By providing direct cash assistance, the program empowers residents to decide how to best meet their financial needs and goals, positively impacting some of the city’s most vulnerable families as they strive for economic stability, access to education and opportunity, and improved health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. “With Rise Up, we’re building off the tremendous positive impact we saw from the Cambridge RISE pilot, which showed us how far $500 a month goes toward establishing financial stability for families and creating better outcomes for our kids,” said Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui. “There is no better investment we can make as leaders than in our families.”

“The American Rescue Plan Act has provided the City of Cambridge a unique opportunity to develop this $22 million program,” said City Manager Yi-An Huang. “There is a deep dignity to giving people the choice and power to decide what they need. This program trusts families to make their own decisions, and we believe that this is the right thing to do. We are excited to launch Rise Up Cambridge and look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on our community.”

The registration period for Rise Up Cambridge will be open starting June 1, 2023, with initial payments beginning June 30. To learn more about Rise Up Cambridge and program eligibility, please visit www.cambridgema.gov/riseup.

Recent Press about Rise Up Cambridge:

Harvard Crimson: https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2023/5/3/cambridge-inequality-program-launch/

CBS News: https://www.cbsnews.com/boston/news/cambridge-money-for-low-income-families-guaranteed-income-program/

GBH: https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2023/05/02/cambridge-tries-giving-thousands-of-low-income-residents-money-no-strings-attached

Boston Globe: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2023/05/02/business/cambridges-covid-experiment-giving-poor-families-500-month-will-continue-grow/

Cambridge Day: https://www.cambridgeday.com/2023/05/02/cambridge-direct-payment-program-is-funded-with-22m-for-lower-income-families-with-kids/

WBUR: https://www.wbur.org/news/2023/05/02/cambridge-guaranteed-income-cash-payments

WCVB: https://www.wcvb.com/article/cambridge-massachusetts-providing-dollar500-per-month-to-low-income-families/43781768

Boston.com: https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2023/05/03/cambridge-expands-program-500-month-low-income-families/

Channel 7 News WHDH: https://whdh.com/news/city-of-cambridge-to-combat-income-inequality-by-giving-500-per-month-to-low-income-families/

Boston Herald: https://www.bostonherald.com/2023/05/02/cambridge-to-provide-500-cash-payments-to-families-facing-poverty-for-18-months/