Long Beach will begin accepting applications for its pilot guaranteed income program later this summer, and city officials plan to start making payments by the end of the year.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced details of the program on Wednesday July 7. It will run for a year and provide $ 500 per month to 500 single-parent households in ZIP code 90813, which has the highest concentration of family poverty in Long Beach; the area has a median household income 25% lower than any other zip code in the city.
In addition to the money, each parent will benefit from free child care, transportation assistance, workforce training, and access to cell phones and the Internet.
Long Beach Recovery Act funding will pay for 250 families; the state, city officials said, is expected to pay the rest with part of the $ 30 million the governor set aside for guaranteed income projects in this year’s budget.
“Our guaranteed income program will help single parents and families with direct assistance and basic needs,” Garcia said in a statement, “in a community that has long struggled against poverty.”
Cal State Long Beach’s economic research office has provided recommendations to the city on how to shape the program, and the office will also write a report at the end of the program that analyzes its results.
The program will be launched a year after the first city council vote to explore the idea of a guaranteed income program.
Garcia, who is a member of the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income organization, then took the issue to city council. He noted that income inequality was a major concern nationwide before the coronavirus pandemic and that the problem was only magnified by the public health crisis.
When the application process opens, household income and the hardships created by the pandemic will be among the factors taken into consideration.
In addition to helping local families in need, Garcia said he hopes the pilot program will help advance the national conversation on guaranteed income.
“The research gathered from this pilot,” he said, “will help us build a national case for these programs across the country and our city. “