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$1,204 a month for 150 young adults: L.A. County pilot program approved

October 2019 photo of Los Angeles County Supervisors Hilda Solis, right, and Kathryn Barger, left, during a Board meeting.
October 2019 photo of Los Angeles County Supervisors Hilda Solis, right, and Kathryn Barger, left, during a Board meeting. The board approved pilot program that will provide a guaranteed income of $1,204 a month to 150 young adults in L.A. County.
(Los Angeles Times)

A pilot program will provide a guaranteed income of $1,204 a month to young adults in Los Angeles County.

The program, approved unanimously by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, will provide the payments for three years to 150 residents ages 18 to 24 who are receiving general relief benefits.

About a third of young people eligible for the program are homeless with no support system, according to the motion approved by the board.

Many are Black or Latino men with limited educational and career opportunities whose chances for success were further damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some have recently come out of the foster care or probation systems.

The program’s proponents hope the money will help these young adults achieve financial stability, with the goal of becoming permanently self-sufficient.

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“My hope is that this can narrow the wealth gap, ameliorate the immense harm caused by the pandemic, and set up these young people for success,” Hilda Solis, chair of the Board of Supervisors and author of the motion, said in a statement.

In May, the board approved another guaranteed income pilot program, providing $1,000 a month to 1,000 residents for at least three years as part of a “countywide poverty alleviation initiative.”

L.A. County Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Sheila Kuehl are proposing that the county provide at least $1,000 to at least 1,000 residents for three years.

Universal basic income and guaranteed income programs have been gaining traction across the state, particularly during the pandemic.

Such programs have helped participants cover unexpected expenses and look for full-time jobs free of short-term financial pressure, Tuesday’s motion said.

The motion directs county officials to submit a detailed plan for the young adult pilot program within 45 days. The program will get off the ground soon after that, said Stephany Villaseñor, Solis’ communications director.

The $1,204 monthly payment, $201 of which is CalFresh food benefits, will supplement the county general relief payment of $221 a month.

It’s not clear yet how the 150 participants will be selected. They will receive job placement assistance and will be encouraged to take advantage of other employment, apprenticeship and entrepreneurship resources.

“Poverty is destructive. It can break spirits and destroy lives,” Supervisor Janice Hahn, a coauthor of the motion, 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.”

Solis said she will “absolutely” pursue similar programs in the future.

“There are survivors of domestic violence, CalWorks recipients, undocumented residents, and so many others who deserve to benefit from such a program,” she said. CalWorks is a state program providing cash aid and services to families with children.

In Stockton, 130 residents received $500 a month for a year and a half beginning in 2019.

Compton has been giving 800 low-income residents $300 to $600 a month. The Compton Pledge is sponsored by the Fund for Guaranteed Income, a charity headed by Nika Soon-Shiong, daughter of Los Angeles Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and a co-director of the Compton Pledge.

In April, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed a $24-million Basic Income Guaranteed program that would give $1,000 a month to 2,000 families for a year.

This July, Long Beach launched a guaranteed income pilot program to provide $500 to 500 single-parent families each month for a year.


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