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LA County Board Of Supervisors Approves Guaranteed Income Pilot Program For Young People

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion Tuesday that will launch a guaranteed income pilot program for young people ages 18 to 24.

The three-year program will provide 150 people with $1,204 a month. The money will go to youth transitioning out of foster care or probation who are currently receiving general relief benefits and participating in the L.A. County Department of Public Social Services' TAYportunity program. The money will include $1,000 in income and $204 in CalFresh, the state program that provides low-income California residents money to purchase food.

The money will not affect the $221 in monthly general relief benefits that these young adults already rely on.

"We have the blueprint to launch a guaranteed basic income program among a sample population that has not only been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic but has historically faced economic and social inequities," L.A. County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, who co-authored the motion, said in a statement Monday.

The board directed the DPSS director to submit a plan to the board within 45 days. The county will also seek partnership with a research institution to assist in the creation and/or study the potential efficacy of the pilot program.

The vote comes more than two months after the supervisors voted to approve proposals for a pilot guaranteed income program and directed staff to report back on implementation.

Tuesday's motion is the result of a report issued by the DPSS articulating a road map and outlining the benefits of implementing guaranteed income demonstration projects. It would direct the DPSS director to submit a plan to the board within 45 days for the creation of the three-year pilot project, which would provide $1,000 per month in income and $204 in CalFresh benefits.

The motion would further instruct the L.A. County Chief Executive Office, in consultation with county counsel, to execute agreements with a research institution, and/or other agencies that provide benefits counseling to assist in the creation and/or study the potential efficacy of the pilot program.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger was the dissenting vote in May's original motion calling for the pilot program, expressing concerns about lack of research into the plans and the potential for fraud.

"I am deeply concerned about the motions approved by the Board of Supervisors today to guarantee a basic income for an unspecified group of individuals over a period of at least three years," Barger said. "Implementation of `Guaranteed Basic Income' has yet to be fully researched and vetted in a jurisdiction comparable to ours. As the largest county in the nation, we should be more diligent, thoughtful and strategic before we implement a program of this nature."

Earlier this month, the city of Long Beach launched a similar guaranteed income pilot program to give 500 low-income residents $500 a month for a year. All the participants will be single-parent households, mostly single mothers, who earn under the poverty line.

Last October, Compton announced it was launching a universal basic income program to distribute cash payments to 800 low-income residents over a period of two years.

Also this month, in a rare bipartisan move, California lawmakers approved state-funded cash payments for young adults leaving foster care and for expectant mothers, with no restrictions on how the money is spent.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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