California launches guaranteed income pilot programs

California launches guaranteed income pilot programs

California launched its first-ever state-funded guaranteed income pilot programs on Friday.

The programs will serve Ventura and San Francisco counties, providing $1,000-$1,200 per month to 150 former foster youth.

The pilot programs served through the Department of Social Services, will provide “unconditional, individual, regular cash payments intended to disrupt poverty, advance equity, and support the basic needs of recipients,” state officials said.

“Guaranteed income programs help level the playing field and will give these former foster youth the support and resources they need to pursue their California dream,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.

The Ventura County Human Services Agency was awarded $1,538,758 and will provide recipients with $1,000 per month for 18 months.

The City and County of San Francisco were awarded $3,439,090 and will provide recipients with $1,200 per month for 18 months.

Officials said the former foster youth recipients who will benefit have already been identified.

“This is an amazing opportunity to break the cycle of poverty experienced by many young adults transitioning out of foster care,” said Melissa Livingston, Ventura Human Services Agency Director. “Investing in them is not only an investment in their future, but in that of the broader community.”

Program officials said the pilots aim to build on the successes from prior guaranteed income projects including a Stockton program in 2019.

Over 100 Stockton residents were paid $500 a month which researchers say allowed residents to better find full-time employment while reducing income volatility. Some recipients even displayed less depression and anxiety.

The Ventura and San Francisco programs will allow researchers to track the impacts and outcomes of the supplemental income on participants’ health, well-being, financial stress, employment, and education.

“Nearly 4.5 million Californians live below the poverty line — not because of personal failures, but because of policy choices,” said Michael Tubbs, Special Advisor for Economic Mobility and Opportunity and Mayors for a Guaranteed Income Founder. “We saw with the first mayor-led guaranteed income program that I ran in Stockton that guaranteed income is effective at increasing not just financial stability, but also mental and physical health, parent-child relationships, and people’s ability to strive for goals. I’m excited to see those results replicated as the first payments of the CDSS pilot begin to go out in Ventura and San Francisco.”

To learn about the guaranteed income programs, visit the CDSS website.

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