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California Governor Gavin Newsom. Los Angeles is launching a universal basic income program, which is expected to be the largest in the United States to date. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

  • Los Angeles is launching a Universal Basic Income (UBI) pilot program with monthly payments of $ 1,000.

  • About 3,000 families will receive the money for a year, and there are no rules on how they spend it.

  • A board member said it would be the largest UBI program in US history.

Los Angeles is launching a Universal Basic Income (UBI) pilot program, which is expected to be the largest in the United States to date.

The program will give about 3,000 poor families $ 1,000 a month for a year, and there are no rules on how families spend the money.

To be eligible, applicants must live in the city of Los Angeles, be at least 18 years old, have an income equal to or below the federal poverty line, have at least one dependent minor, or be pregnant and have experienced financial or financial problems or medical. difficulties related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal poverty line depends on the size of the household. For a household of four, a family earning less than $ 26,500 would fall below the federal poverty line. Poverty affects two in ten residents of the city of Los Angeles – mostly people of color, according to a program website.

The program is called the Guaranteed Basic Income: Los Angeles Economic Assistance Pilot (BIG LEAP).

It has nearly $ 40 million in funding, South LA City Councilor Curren Price said at a city council meeting on Tuesday, where council members approved the program.

Price said the program would be “the largest guaranteed income economic assistance pilot program in our country’s history,” and called it a “life-changing initiative.”

The city said the program would consist of “unconditional, regular and direct cash payments”, with “no restrictions on how the money can be spent.” The payments would complement existing social assistance programs, the city said.

The concept of UBI dates back at least to the 16th century, when Spanish-born humanist Juan Luis Vives advocated for a system of unconditional welfare. Since then, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. has declared his support for the concept, and it has become the cornerstone of Andrew Yang’s candidacy for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries.

More economists and lawmakers, including a coalition of U.S. mayors, have called for the introduction of UBI programs as the pandemic both exacerbates and exposes huge income inequalities.

“The idea of ​​a guaranteed pilot program has been an idea my office has been following for some time, and it has gained momentum as we have seen our country examine racial disparities and social injustices during the COVID pandemic. “Price said Tuesday.

Other cities across the United States have tested UBI programs.

Stockton, Calif., Ran a UBI program for two years that gave 125 residents $ 500 a month. After just one year, full-time employment among participants had increased, and depression and anxiety had decreased, according to the results of the program.

Price told city council that the “positive results” from the Stockton program made it clear that a program in Los Angeles was also needed.

“I hope that after the conclusion of this pilot program it will be replicated at the state and federal levels,” Price said.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in his annual “State of the City” address in April that the city was considering launching a $ 24 million UBI program to support the city’s poor residents.

Applications open on Friday and closes on November 7.

Funding recipients will be randomly selected from eligible applicants by the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania, and will be contacted by the city in January.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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