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Pilot program could provide selective ‘guaranteed income’


The Board of Supervisors this week unanimously approved a plan for a three-year pilot program to provide $1,204 per month to 150 county residents aged 18-24.

The money would go to youth transitioning out of foster care or probation who are currently receiving general relief benefits and participating in the Department of Public Social Services’ TAYportunity program.

As envisioned by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn, who co-authored the motion, the program would include $1,000 in income and $204 each month in CalFresh benefits, but would not affect the $221 in monthly general relief benefits that these young adults already rely on.

Youth receiving these county benefits—who are mostly male and Black or Latino—do not qualify for any other federal or state cash assistance and face particularly severe challenges to becoming self-sufficient, according to the motion. An estimated 31 percent are homeless and without a support network.

A guaranteed income is designed to give them the opportunity to invest in education or training for higher-paying jobs. The pilot program would include supportive services like job placement assistance.

A Department of Public Social Services report has already provided a road map and outlined the benefits of implementing guaranteed income demonstration projects.

“Poverty is destructive. It can break spirits and destroy lives,” Hahn said in a statement following the vote. “Government needs new and better strategies to stop the cycle of poverty and a guaranteed basic income program has real potential.”

The vote comes more than two months after the supervisors first voted to approve proposals for a pilot guaranteed income program and directed staff to report back on implementation.