Guaranteed basic income: Los Angeles begins accepting applications for $1,000-a-month program

LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- Los Angeles residents have until Nov. 7 to 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 application process opened Friday. People can apply at bigleap.lacity.org. More information is available from Councilman Curren Price's district office at (323) 846-2651.

Only households with at least one dependent child 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. They also must have experienced economic or medical hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than a quarter of the recipients will come from Price's District 9.
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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.


"Why Council District 9? Well, 9 is home to some of the most marginalized neighborhoods in our city. Most marginalized, highest rates of poverty, highest rates of dropouts,'' Price said.

Price said Tuesday that his district office, at 4301 S. Central Ave., will serve as a command center during the application window to assist constituents. Additional sites -- including the Vermont Square Branch Library, Ascot Branch Library, Junipero Serra Branch Library, the All Peoples Community Center and Trade-Tech College -- will provide computers, Wi-Fi and language support to help District 9 residents apply.

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 then-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.

On Tuesday, the City Council approved $27.4 million for the program citywide, which includes about $3.4 million for Price's district. Price's office will provide another $6 million from its Guaranteed Basic Income Funds. The offices of Council Districts 6, 8 and 10 also provided funding from their offices' GBI funds, totaling more than $5 million.
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