Long Beach offering $500-a-month guaranteed income for 500 single parents

People are silhouetted at dusk on a beach with city buildings in the background.
A February photo shows beachgoers at dusk on Junipero Beach in Long Beach. The city plans to launch a guaranteed-income program for 500 families.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Long Beach is launching a guaranteed-income pilot program intended to assist 500 residents who have incomes below the poverty line, the city announced.

Up to 500 single-parent families will receive $500 each month for a year, Mayor Robert Garcia said.

Payments will be distributed largely to households led by single mothers with incomes below the poverty line in the 90813 ZIP Code, which has the highest concentration of family poverty in the city, officials said.

“We’re looking at 30% of eligible single parents [who] are going to be able to receive this direct income in this ZIP Code,” Garcia said Thursday.

Generally speaking, family income of around $20,000 or less a year would place the household below the poverty line and make the household eligible for the program.


The program’s application process, handled by the Long Beach Economic Development Department, will begin in the coming months, and the city plans to start distributing funds by the end of the year.

“In the next few months, when we open up the process, we’re going to do an intense outreach effort,” Garcia said. “We will be going door to door. We will engage with community organizations that are already working on the ground, just to get information out as much as possible.”

In addition to an applicant’s household income, pandemic-related hardships will be considered.

Those receiving the monthly stipends also will be provided with free child care, transportation support, workforce training and ”access to resources to support digital inclusion,” such as cellphones and internet connection.

The Office of Economic Research at Cal State Long Beach, which helped develop the program, will be studying its effects on participants.

Recipients of Stockton’s $500 guaranteed monthly income benefited in myriad ways.

March 6, 2021

Long Beach isn’t the first California city to launch a guaranteed-income program. In 2019, Stockton launched a two-year initiative in which 125 residents received $500 every month, with no strings attached.


The payments in Stockton resulted in better health, well-being and professional success for participants, according to a study.

Cities such as Compton, West Hollywood and Oakland have implemented similar programs.

“We’re trying to make a national case” for guaranteed-income programs, Garcia said. Long Beach’s pilot program is “a great opportunity to get some really great data and, most importantly, just to help people.”