Guaranteed income pilot program approved in L.A. County for 150 young adults

Local news

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a pilot program that will provide a guaranteed income of $1,204 per month for 150 young adults.

The three-year program is meant for residents aged 18 to 24 years old who are receiving general relief benefits, a county-funded program for those who don’t qualify for other state or federal assistance programs.

About 31% of young adults eligible for the program are homeless, and some may have transitioned out of foster care or the probation system, according to the motion.

“We have the blueprint to launch a guaranteed basic income program among a population that has not only been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic but has also historically faced economic and social inequities,” said L.A. County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis, who authored the motion.

The young people get $221 per month in cash aid through general relief, and local officials said more is needed for the group, many of whom are young Black or Latino men with limited education and career opportunities.

Solis said unconditional payments have been shown to help recipients create economic stability for themselves and find full-time employment. The pilot program will help “ensure the successful transition of youth into the community,” she said.

“Poverty is destructive. It can break spirits and destroy lives,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement. “Government needs new and better strategies to stop the cycle of poverty and a guaranteed basic income program has real potential.”

Officials didn’t provide information on how 150 people will be chosen for the guaranteed income.

The motion directs the Department of Public Social Services to submit a plan in 45 days for the creation of the pilot program.

Guaranteed income has become increasingly popular after the COVID-19 pandemic left millions jobless and prompted the federal government to send out stimulus checks and other relief.

Dozens of cities and counties across the country, including in California, have been experimenting with giving some low-income residents a guaranteed income.

This month, the California Legislature approved the first state-funded guaranteed income plan in the U.S., with $35 million for monthly cash payments to qualifying pregnant women and young adults who recently left foster care.

In his State of the City address this year, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed spending $24 million in taxpayer money on a guaranteed basic income pilot that would give $1,000 a month to 2,000 households for one year, “no questions asked.”

And Compton last year started giving 800 low-income residents $300 to $600 a month as part of a two-year program.

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