California Launches Pioneering State-Funded Guaranteed Income Pilot Programs

SACRAMENTO, CA – In a significant move towards addressing poverty and fostering equity, California initiated its inaugural state-funded guaranteed income pilot programs last Friday. These pioneering programs will be operational in Ventura and San Francisco counties, offering monthly payments of $1,000 to $1,200 to 150 former foster youth.

Administered through the Department of Social Services, the pilot programs are designed to provide “unconditional, individual, regular cash payments intended to disrupt poverty, advance equity, and support the basic needs of recipients,” as emphasized by state officials.

California Governor Gavin Newsom expressed his support for these innovative initiatives, noting, “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.”

Ventura County Human Services Agency, one of the program providers, has been awarded $1,538,758 to allocate $1,000 per month for 18 months to the identified recipients. The City and County of San Francisco were granted $3,439,090, enabling them to provide $1,200 per month to their chosen participants over the same 18-month period.

It’s crucial to highlight that the former foster youth beneficiaries have already been identified, ensuring that support will reach those who need it most.

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

These pilot programs are building upon the achievements of prior guaranteed income projects, with the Stockton program in 2019 serving as a noteworthy example. Over 100 Stockton residents received $500 monthly payments, resulting in an improved ability to secure full-time employment and reduced income volatility. Additionally, some recipients experienced decreased levels of depression and anxiety.

The newly launched programs in Ventura and San Francisco aim to facilitate comprehensive research to track the impact and outcomes of the supplemental income on the participants’ health, well-being, financial stability, employment, and education.

Michael Tubbs, Special Advisor for Economic Mobility and Opportunity and Founder of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, emphasized, “Nearly 4.5 million Californians live below the poverty line — not because of personal failures, but because of policy choices. 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 gain further insights into the guaranteed income programs, visit the CDSS website.

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