(The Center Square) – Following a national trend, Los Angeles and Los Angeles County have embraced the popular concept of guaranteed income to fight poverty by offering low-income residents cash with no strings attached.
The City of Los Angeles is offering a guaranteed income program to 3,200 randomly selected participants to receive $1,000 per month for 12 months. Los Angeles County responded with its own guaranteed programs.
The county’s guaranteed income pilot program involves 1,000 participants who will receive monthly payments of $1,000 for three years. The budget is $16.3 million and the county will use federal COVID-19 relief funds to pay for the program, according to Los Angeles County. The program started in August.
On October 12, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis said the county is launching a second guaranteed income program for 300 people between the ages of 18 and 24 who are already receiving employment services in the county. These 300 randomly selected young people will receive $1,000 a month in guaranteed income for 36 months, according to a Press release.
Last year, the City of Los Angeles launched the world’s largest guaranteed basic income program called BIG:LEAP. According to its website, this program provides “unconditional” monthly payments of $1,000 to approximately 3,200 people for 12 months.
Los Angeles City Council member Curren Price Jr. said the program will be “the largest pilot program of guaranteed income economic assistance in the history of our country”.
The program will cost the city nearly $40 million.
The people targeted in the BIG JUMP must be 18 years of age or older and live below the federal poverty level. They must also be pregnant or have at least one child.
The first data from this program were recently published in a report from Mayors for guaranteed incomea group of mayors from across the country promoting guaranteed income programs.
The data shows that 34.94% was spent on food and groceries, 34.23% on retail sales and services, and 11.91% on transportation.
According to another report80% of the participants are women and 20% are men.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a member of Mayors for Guaranteed Income, said in a Press release that the BIG:LEAP program “is a small but steady investment in a simple concept: when you provide resources to struggling families, it can give them the opportunity to achieve goals that many of us are fortunate enough to take for granted. “
The trend for guaranteed income programs goes far beyond Los Angeles, with Mayors for Guaranteed Income reporting that more than 44 cities have already implemented pilot programs.
The mayor’s office and the BIG:LEAP program did not respond to requests for comment.
Guaranteed income programs could work if they replace the web of other social safety net programs, some academics say. Antony Davies, an associate professor of economics at Duquesne University, previously told The Center Square that he was less enthusiastic about a guaranteed income approach to tackling poverty if it was just a another government grant program. Davies said guaranteed income programs could be effective if they replaced the multitude of other duplicate bureaucracies already in place in government social programs.