Applications open Friday for LA's basic guaranteed income program, which will give $1K a month

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Starting Friday, Los Angeles residents can apply for the city's guaranteed basic income pilot program, which will give $1,000 a month to 3,000 households for a year.

The nearly $40 million BIG:LEAP (Basic Income Guaranteed: Los Angeles Economic Assistance Pilot) program is the largest of its kind in the United States.

"Its name perfectly captures what we're doing here in L.A. because we're taking a big leap forward in our generational fight to end poverty, to break the back of our addiction to poverty here in America," Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday.

The monthly payments will be given to families who were affected by the pandemic and are living in poverty. Only households with at least one child dependent will be considered, and recipients must live in the city of Los Angeles, be over the age of 18, and have an income at or below the federal poverty line.

Recipients of the program will be selected at random. Residents can apply online or call 311 for locations where you can apply in person. The application process will remain open through Sunday, Nov. 7.

The city of L.A. anticipates the first round of cash payments to be distributed in late Jan. 2022.

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The city of Los Angeles will pay $1,000 a month to 3,000 families under a new Guaranteed Basic Income pilot program.

Garcetti said officials looked at data from a smaller GPI program in Stockton while developing the pilot, and studies showed that the 125 Stockton residents who received $500 per month were more than twice as likely to secure full-time jobs as people in a control group.

"They landed full-time employment because they could afford to take that job interview that before they couldn't. Maybe instead of two jobs, they could have one, and they were able to get full-time employment more than twice the rate of non-recipients," Garcetti said, citing findings by Stacia West of the University of Tennessee's College of Social Work and Amy Castro Baker of the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Stockton program was conducted between February 2019 and February 2020 under former Mayor Michael Tubbs. Garcetti added that the study found participants "reported feeling less exhausted and anxious than those in the control group."

"They spent more time with their kids, which meant those kids got help with things like homework and are going to have better graduation rates,"he added.

Critics of the programs often cite opposition to handing out free money, especially without restrictions on how it can be spent. Some say it will cause people to work less, though the Stockton program's findings found that recipients ended up working more. The proportion of recipients who had full-time jobs rose from 28% to 40%, while the control group experienced a 5% increase in full-time employment during the same period.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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