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LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County‘s guaranteed basic income program is underway, with 1,000 residents now receiving $1,000 a month for the next three years, officials said Tuesday.
The recipients were chosen randomly from more than 180,000 people who applied for the program.
“Given the huge number of L.A. County residents who applied, it’s abundantly clear that a guaranteed basic income is an idea whose time has come,” Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said.
“I’m confident that we will see what other pilots have already shown: that a guaranteed basic income, by giving people a bit of financial breathing room, allows them to stabilize their lives and that of their family.
“Three years from now, I feel confident that this L.A. County program will be seen as a foundation stone that led to expanded programs providing economic opportunity and stability to every eligible American household,” Kuehl continued.
The county Board of Supervisors voted to develop the pilot program last year to address poverty and income instability.
Participants must be at least 18 years old, have a household income under $56,000 for a single person or $96,000 for a family of four and have experienced negative impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The L.A. County participants were chosen by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Guaranteed Income, which is researching guaranteed income programs across the country.
Recipients receive the money via debit card. They range in age from 18 to 91 and live in communities throughout the county, speaking languages including Armenian, Cantonese, Farsi, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish and English, according to officials with Breathe: L.A. County’s Guaranteed Income Program.
The program administrator, Strength Based Community Change, will keep in touch with the selected participants and assist them throughout the duration of the program to help them reach their personal and financial goals, officials said.
The pilot program is based on a similar program in Stockton, California, that has been praised for its success. The city of Los Angeles introduced a guaranteed basic income program, called BIG:LEAP, last year.