LOS ANGELES, CA — Los Angeles County’s experiment with guaranteed income began Thursday, and Studio City residents living near the Hollywood Freeway (101) are among those eligible to apply.
The three-year pilot program will provide participants with $1,000 per month without hindrance. The county’s “Breathe: LA County’s Guaranteed Income Program” is modeled after a number of municipal programs nationwide that have attempted to address poverty with a guaranteed program. Notably, the LA County program is longer than average, providing participants with a monthly income for three years.
To be eligible, residents must live in a household with an income below the county median in a neighborhood where other households also earn less than the county median. Click here to determine if a specific address or neighborhood is eligible for the program.
Eligible applicants must have a family income of less than $56,000 for a single person or $96,000 for a family of four. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have experienced hardship due to the pandemic.
After the application period closes on April 13, 1,000 applicants will be randomly selected for the “Breathe: LA County Guaranteed Income Program.”
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Holly Mitchell officially opened the nomination period Thursday during a press conference at Community Coalition headquarters.
“The financial uncertainty and varying depths of poverty that millions of our constituents experience day-to-day cannot be addressed with a one-size-fits-all approach. Now is our opportunity to invest in support that directly reaches our residents” , Mitchell said previously. .
“…It’s time we had confidence that our residents know how to best meet their needs when they have the resources to do so. Across the country, guaranteed income has already been proven to reduce poverty, improved the long-term well-being of families, and gave residents living on the edge of a fiscal cliff the support they needed to breathe a little easier.”
Marshall Bell, who was queuing at the Community Coalition on Thursday morning to apply for the program, said the money would help him cover his bills.
“The pandemic hit me pretty hard, you know, and that would help me,” Bell told KCAL9. “I’m… low income and I have nothing, and I thank God if I can apply for something, it’s good for me.”
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the motion, brought forward by Mitchell and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, to create the program on May 18, 2021. The motion also said poverty and economic opportunity are a public health issue. .
“The course of this pandemic has revealed the vast number of county residents living on the brink of financial crisis, with insufficient savings to meet a job loss, medical emergency, or major auto repair,” he said. said Kuehl.
“This guaranteed income program will help give residents the flexibility they need to better weather these crises. There is ample evidence of guaranteed income projects across the country that financial support, coupled with the freedom to making their own decisions about how best to spend their money gives families the flexibility they need to establish stability and invest in a more prosperous future.”
The Los Angeles County Poverty Reduction Initiative will oversee the program, and a research team from the University of Pennsylvania Guaranteed Income Research Center will randomly select qualified applicants. The team will also study the long-term impacts of income on residents’ economic well-being.
“There’s so much we still don’t know about the power of unconditional money over a longer period of time. With a three-year pilot project, this opens up the possibility for families to set bigger goals than we have seen in other experiments and it also gives policymakers a chance to learn how unconditional cash works alongside other programs over time,” said Dr. Amy Beth Castro of the Guaranteed Income Research Center from the University of Pennsylvania.
The pilot program is based on a similar program in Stockton, California, which has been praised for its success. The City of Los Angeles introduced a guaranteed basic income program last year, called BIG:LEAP.
“Given that we saw a reduction in anxiety and depression after just 12 months in Stockton, we’re excited to see how families benefit from a much longer period of support,” Castro said.
Residents interested in applying can find more information at breath.lacounty.gov, including a map to help determine if they live in an eligible community. Information is also available by calling 213-342-1003.
The selection will not depend on the time of registrations.
City News Service, Inc. and Patch Staffer Paige Austin contributed to this report.