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LA County guaranteed income program begins accepting applications

Applications open for LA County guaranteed income program 05:26

The application window opened Thursday for Los Angeles County's new guaranteed income program.

The program will provide 1,000 randomly selected residents with $1,000 a month for three years.

To qualify for the "Breathe: LA County's Guaranteed Income Program," people must be at least 18 years old, have a household income under $56,000 for a single person or $96,000 for a family of four and have experienced negative impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants will receive the money through a debit card, and there are no strings attached or conditions to the income.

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Holly Mitchell formally opened the application period Thursday with a launch event at Community Coalition headquarters in South L.A. Dozens of residents lined up to apply.

"The pandemic hit me pretty hard, you know, it would do some help for me," Marshall Bell told CBSLA.  

"We all know what we have experienced these last two years, a dual pandemic, both public health and economic, and quite frankly, it has hit communities the hardest who were already suffering and having challenges making ends meet month to month," Mitchell told CBSLA.

The program was approved by the board of supervisors in May of 2021.

"There's so much bureaucracy, there's so many systems that stay away from the help and the people that need it the most," Community Coalition Associate Director Carlos Leon said.

The L.A. County Poverty Alleviation Initiative will oversee the program, and a research team from the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Guaranteed Income Research will randomly select qualified applicants. The team will also study long-term impacts the income has on residents' economic wellbeing.

The pilot program is based on a similar program in Stockton, California, that has been praised for its success.

The city of L.A. introduced a guaranteed basic income program, called BIG:LEAP, last year. Long Beach, Compton and El Monte have also launched similar programs.

Residents interested in applying can click here. Information is also available by calling 213-342-1003. The deadline for applications is April 13. 

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