Six months after the city of Chelsea launched a guaranteed income pilot program offering up to $400 per month to 2,000 low-income families, data shows the participants spent almost three-quarters of the total $2.1 million at food retailers. The numbers point to both the extent of hunger in the area and the efficacy of direct cash payments to address it. A Harvard study found that, so far, the program is achieving its goals. Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Jill Shah, the president of the Shah Family Foundation, which partnered on the initiative, joined Jim Braude to share more.

“The study has shown that this program works,” Ambrosino said. “It improves not just the economic health, but the mental health of those recipients.”

“We saw it also as an opportunity to test something that is, more and more, getting debated in Washington, in terms of a way to help people rise out of poverty,” Shah said.

WATCH: Chelsea’s cash program helps residents meet their needs