Santa Clara County Approves Basic Income Pilot for Transitioning Foster Youth
$900,000 expenditure will fund the first pilot program in the United States to support this vulnerable population with basic income
SAN FRANCISCO May 12, 2020 The Gerald Huff Fund for Humanity, a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the understanding, acceptance, and implementation of Universal Basic Income programs to benefit all Americans today announced that in an unprecedented, accelerated schedule, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved a $900,000 expenditure to fund a pilot program providing basic income to transitioning foster youth.
County of Santa Clara Supervisor Dave Cortese, who introduced this measure, said: “Youth transitioning out of the foster care system are a group of residents who are particularly in need of and deserve robust support. Creating a pilot program to provide a basic income to these individuals will allow the County to better support their transition out of our foster care system and to help them find a stable path to success, wellbeing, and independence.”
Gisèle Huff, president of the Gerald Huff Fund for Humanity, recalled a conversation she had with Supervisor Cortese last summer, where they discussed the needs of transitioning foster youth and the potential of a basic income component to help meet those needs. As part of the Fund’s mission to promote the implementation of Universal Basic Income programs, Huff decided to participate in the County’s effort to support this vulnerable population.
Universal Basic Income, sometimes referred to as basic income or UBI, is an investment in society through an amount of income that is unconditional, universal, individual, and regularly provided. In other words, it’s an income floor below which no one is allowed to fall, and all other income adds to. It is traditionally considered to be an amount sufficient to raise everyone above the poverty line, but that is not required to meet the definition of UBI. Over the last decade, a growing body of evidence supports the idea that unconditional cash payments provided to people experiencing economic hardship or uncertainty are a potentially transformative intervention. Studies have shown that such payments can reduce poverty and increase wellbeing, positive health outcomes, and educational attainment.
In support of the County’s legislative process, the Fund contributed the preparation of an original paper by an independent researcher, Jenn Dempsey, to provide necessary data about the status of various foster youth support programs and the potential synergy of adding basic income.
This research was part of the December 3, 2019 presentation to the Board of Supervisors, which resulted in a vote to direct appropriate County agencies to investigate the potential for such a program and how it could be implemented, starting with a pilot program. Supervisor Cortese, recognizing the significant potential adverse impact of Santa Clara County’s COVID-19 shelter in place order of March 16, 2020, called for the development of the pilot program plan to be expedited, which made today’s vote possible.
Huff remarked: “An unconditional basic income of $1,000 a month for a year is a lifeline for transitioning foster youth. It is also evidence of how forward-thinking Santa Clara County is, being the first such government entity to sponsor basis income. Kudos to Supervisor Cortese, his fellow Supervisors, and the County of Santa Clara’s committed staff for making this pilot a reality.”
A robust evaluation of the pilot is planned, which may serve as a template for the adoption of other basic income programs nationwide to help meet the needs of other vulnerable and, ultimately, the general population nationwide.
About The Gerald Huff Fund for Humanity:
The Gerald Huff Fund for Humanity is a Section 501(c)3 non-profit organization that was created in 2019 to promulgate the vision of the late Gerald Huff, an ardent proponent of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a transitional solution to the existential threat of technological unemployment. Through various programs and initiatives, the Fund supports UBI by collaborating with education and advocacy programs and individuals to further its understanding, acceptance, and implementation to benefit all Americans. Among the Fund’s current initiatives are Basic Income Today, an online information and community site dedicated to providing news and information and furthering the discussion and debate about UBI. https://fundforhumanity.org/ On Twitter @FundforHumanity.
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Gisèle Huff President
Gerald Huff Fund for Humanity