$1,000 a month, no strings attached: Anti-poverty experiment comes to Silicon Valley (The Mercury News)
Guaranteed income pilot is part of a Bay Area-wide trend
PUBLISHED: November 30, 2022 at 12:03 p.m. | UPDATED: December 1, 2022 at 8:11 a.m.
For many struggling South Bay families, getting an extra $1,000 a month with no strings attached would seem too good to be true.
But for 150 households lucky enough to be chosen for a new guaranteed income experiment in Santa Clara County, that’s exactly what’s happening.
The program targets families with children under 18 who are homeless or on the brink of homelessness — they could be at risk of losing their home because they can’t afford the rent, for example, or living crammed into too-tight quarters with other families. The payments are part of a broad trend picking up steam throughout the Bay Area as nonprofits, cities, counties and even state legislators advocate for and increasingly experiment with programs that put cash directly into the hands of people in need.
“More money allows families to be able to pay their rent or pay their bills or do whatever they need to be able to do,” said Jennifer Loving, CEO of Destination: Home — one of the organizations spearheading the project funded by private donations. “We trust families to make good decisions for themselves.”
The guaranteed-income model bucks the trend of traditional assistance programs that give people vouchers for one specific purpose — housing or food, for example — or help people only if they complete certain requirements, such as looking for work or getting sober. Guaranteed income has spread over the past few years — but so far, only in small-scale, short-lived pilot programs. Advocates hope these initial test programs will prove guaranteed income helps participants get back on their feet so they can eventually be scaled to the state or federal level.
This week, the state announced that it will give out more than $25 million to fund seven guaranteed-income pilots — including in San Francisco. In all, the effort will provide monthly payments of between $600 and $1,200 to at least 1,975 Californians.
Oakland last year started giving $500 per month to 300 families and then doubled the program to 600 families in February. Marin County is giving $1,000 a month to 124 low-income women, and Santa Clara County launched a guaranteed-income program specifically for people leaving the foster care system. South San Francisco last year started sending out $500 monthly checks to 150 low-income families, and Alameda and Mountain View recently approved similar programs.
Critics sometimes worry that no-strings-attached payments may discourage people from working and becoming self-sufficient. But that risk becomes much less when talking about programs that target extremely low-income households and give out relatively small sums of money, said Matt Zwolinski, director of the University of San Diego’s Center for Ethics, Economics and Public Policy.
“The idea that people are going to drop out of the labor market altogether and just live high on their basic income is pretty implausible, especially if you’re talking about the Bay Area,” he said.
Data from a 2019 guaranteed income program in Stockton found that full-time employment in participants actually increased by 12% in the program’s first year.
The new program in Santa Clara County will last for two years, and the results will be studied by the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative. The $5.8 million program is funded by donations from organizations, including Destination: Home, Google.org, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Sobrato Philanthropies.
Money is expected to start flowing to families in December.
Destination: Home found participants for the program by combing the county’s waitlist for housing and other services. The ¡Sí Se Puede! Collective identified additional families from San Jose’s Mayfair neighborhood.
“Through this project we can support families vulnerable to homelessness by giving them cash with no conditions,” Gabriel Hernandez, director of the collective, said in a news release. “With their participation, in two years, we hope to see how guaranteed income benefits families and advocate for more programs to support more families.”
150 Homeless Families in Santa Clara County to Receive $1,000 per Month for Two Years (San Jose Inside)
By San Jose Inside / November 30, 2022
A coalition of community partners today launched the Silicon Valley Guaranteed Income Project, a two-year project that will give 150 Santa Clara County families who are experiencing homelessness or unstable housing $1,000 per month in no-strings-attached cash assistance for 24 months.
The $3.6 million program is designed “to help participants achieve housing stability as well as greater independence over their lives, finances and future,” according to the announcement.
“This unconditional support is meant to provide families with the flexibility to decide how best to meet their needs,” the coalition said in a statement.
The guaranteed income project focuses on families experiencing homelessness, an approach that the coalition said “will enable us to help key populations including people of color, undocumented and mixed status families, and women-led households.”
The project is being spearheaded by Destination: Home and the ¡Sí Se Puede! Collective, in partnership with the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, Sacred Heart Community Service, the Santa Clara County Office of Supportive Housing and UpTogether.
One of the leading partners in this project is the ¡Sí Se Puede! Collective, which envisions a rooted and thriving community “where resilient families have confidence in their gifts, choices and dreams.”
“Through this project we can support families vulnerable to homelessness by giving them cash with no conditions,” said Gabriel Hernandez, director of the Si Se Puede Collective. “With their participation, in 2 years, we hope to see how guaranteed income benefits families and advocate for more programs to support more families.”
“We believe people are experts in their own lives,” added Jennifer Loving, CEO of Destination: Home. “Guaranteed income allows families to make the choices they know will assist them in achieving their goals, and we believe philanthropy should seek to serve and amplify that wisdom and lived experience, rather than attempt to dominate it.”
“Through this project, the partners aim to demonstrate the ways in which guaranteed income can help address Silicon Valley’s deep systemic inequities and severe homelessness crisis,” the coalition said in a statement. The coalition reported that the median monthly rental in Silicon Valley is $2,850, and estimated that to afford this, families would need to make an average of $54.81 an hour, about 3.7 times the minimum earned wage.
The Silicon Valley Guaranteed Income Project will include a research and evaluation component, led by the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, to assess the effectiveness of guaranteed income on housing stability, health, economic and overall well-being. The evaluation is designed as a mixed-methods randomized controlled trial and will be among the first U.S.-based studies of guaranteed income as a homelessness mitigation strategy.
“This is a bold community initiative that aims to not only act locally but to think globally,” said Dr. Oanh Kieu Nguyen, a researcher at the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative and a Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator. “In addition to supporting families in Santa Clara County, we hope to show that guaranteed income is an innovative, yet simple, effective, efficient, equitable and evidence-based approach to addressing the humanitarian and public health crisis of homelessness in the U.S.”
The Silicon Valley Guaranteed Income Project is receiving financial support from several other private funders, including: Google.org, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and Sobrato Philanthropies.
Notification and onboarding of participating families into the project is currently underway. Participation and enrollment are by referral only, and the project is closed to new referrals at this time.
11/30/2022 5:34:06 PM:
…Valley guaranteed income project to selecting 150 families will receive the monthly stipend UCSF researchers will study how they use that money and whether it helps them find stable housing, Jennifer loving is the CEO of nonprofit destination home she says the money comes with no strings attached. Best solutions to our affordability crisis are the ones that provides families with the flexibility to decide. Help us to meet their needs, Oakland, Los Angeles and mountain view have also launched guaranteed income programs. San Francisco is offering guaranteed income for some artists low-income trance residents and black and Pacific Islander pregnant people I mother the bundle Moody KQED news and I’m Italian…
Published December 1, 2022 12:18AM
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Some families in Santa Clara County will be the latest in the Bay Area to receive money in a guaranteed program. The pilot program will offer $1,000 over the next two years starting this December.
This project is one of few that will focus specifically on families experiencing homelessness. Advocates say giving families this money grants them the ability to use the money for what they need the most.
With rent prices continuing to soar and inflation impacting everyone’s bottom line, more cities and counties in the Bay Area are starting guaranteed income programs for the most vulnerable people in their communities.
“At the end of the day, we want to make sure that families in Santa Clara County are not homeless; have the resources they need to meet their needs. We’re not contributing to generational poverty or seeing more people fall into homelessness,” said Chad Bojorquez with Destination Home.
The Silicon Valley Guaranteed Income Pilot Program says it’ll focus on people of color, undocumented and mixed-status families, and women-led households. 150 families will receive $1,000 a month for two years, no strings attached.
Data shows the average rent in Silicon Valley is $2850 and families need to make over $54 an hour to afford that amount.
The program will be led by Destination Home ¡Si Se Puede! Collective and other agencies, including officials with Santa Clara County.
“It might represent from 30% to 50% of their income just to pay the rent. So, this month, do I pay the rent, or do I feed my children? These are the kinds of questions that they talk about that they face every month,” said Gabriel Hernandez, with the program.
Co-author of the Silicon Valley Pain Index Dr. Scott Myers-Lipton says there is proof behind guaranteed income programs.
“It allows for folks who are just scraping by in that bottom 20% to have some of the basics, that we say is a part of this American life and culture,” Dr. Myers-Lipton said.
The project is supported by private funders, including Google.org, the Packard Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and Sobrato Philanthropies.
UCSF will also conduct a study to show how the added income impacts the families over the next two years.