The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) announced Monday that they would provide more than $25 million in grants to guaranteed income projects across the state, with the amount affecting about 1,975 people in the state.
Guaranteed Income/Universal Basic Income (UBI) programs have been popping up in the state since late 2010, with programs giving individuals a certain amount of money each month for about 1-2 years. To date, there have been UBI programs in Stockton, Sacramento, Compton, Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Some cities, such as San Francisco, have multiple short-term UBI programs running simultaneously, impacting different groups of people who have struggled to make ends meet. All programs have been monitored to some extent because city authorities wanted to see if the programs are working and what the pros and cons of the projects are.
While statewide UBI efforts have all failed in state legislatures, funding individual pilot programs at the city level has seen more success. The California Guaranteed Income Pilot Program, devised by Governor Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers, has continued, with project focus groups including pregnant women and those leaving foster care. As such, the CDSS announced Monday that the following 7 city-level programs would be funded by the state:
• Expect Justice (Heluna Health DBA Public Health Foundation Enterprises, Inc.) in the amount of $5,000,000. Pilot will provide 425 pregnant individuals disproportionately affected by perinatal health disparities $600-$1,000 per month for 12 months.
• Inland Southern California United Way at a cost of $5,000,000. Pilot will provide 500 pregnant individuals and 150 former foster youth with $600 per month for 18 months.
• iFoster, Inc. at a cost of $4,763,010. Pilot will provide 300 former foster youths with $750 a month for 18 months.
• Los Angeles Section National Council of Jewish Women, Inc. for an amount of $3,681,949. Pilot will provide 150 pregnant individuals with diabetes with $1,000 per month for 18 months.
• San Francisco Human Services Agency at a cost of $3,300,000. Pilot will provide 150 former foster youths with $1,200 per month for 18 months.
• McKinleyville Community Collaborative for $2,354,841. Pilot will provide 150 pregnant individuals with $1,000 per month for 18 months.
• Ventura County Human Services Agency at a cost of $1,500,000. Pilot will provide 150 former foster youth with $1,000 per month for 18 months.
In total, the amount comes to just over $25 million, covering 1,975 people with monthly payments of $600-$1,200 per month for 12-18 months.
$25 million in new UBI programs
“We are excited to launch these groundbreaking pilot projects across California and would like to thank the governor and legislature for yet another historic investment in California’s fight against poverty,” CDSS Director Kim Johnson said in a statement. “These pilots will serve as an important opportunity to assess the impact of an economic intervention during major life transitions, such as the birth of a child or achieving independence after long-term foster care.”
Special Advisor on Economic Mobility and Opportunity and Mayors for Guaranteed Income Founder Michael Tubbs, who oversaw the first major UBI pilot program in the state as mayor of Stockton, added: “I am proud that my home state of California in the promise of a guaranteed income to build the financial resilience of our residents. Just as we saw with the pilot I led as Mayor of Stockton, I am confident that these funds will provide critical support to families and strengthen our communities.”
However, experts had a different opinion about the social services plan.
“California Social Services just supports programs that throw money at people for a short time and then don’t continue,” Cheryl Keating, a rights researcher who has studied UBI proposals and programs in the United States and Canada, told the Globe on Tuesday. . “These are all flash-in-the-pan like UBIs that only help for a few years and then are taken away without building the person up. Job programs, programs that help people find affordable housing, and other programs funded with the goal of helping people in mind, as well as numerous charitable and non-profit programs, have helped these people for years to build a base of basic needs and a job. build to start or start living again from a bad situation.
“UBI fails to do that. UBI just gives money with no strings attached. While some use this to pay rent or get food, or use it as a buffer to have time to get a job, or something responsible, a lot of people in UBI programs just don’t spend it on those things either. And now the state is stepping into that a little bit more, without boundaries. All these statements that people put out about how great these programs are are filled with buzzwords and read like AI generated speech and don’t get to the point. We really need to keep an eye on those programs.”
Other cities are expected to unveil pilot UBI programs soon.