OAKLAND (CBS SF) – The Mayor of Oakland and other city officials announced Tuesday that the city has begun accepting applications for the first phase of its guaranteed income program, which provides families in need of monthly payments of 18 months Granted $ 500.
The Oakland Resilient Families program began accepting applications for the East Oakland phase Tuesday. There are 300 vacancies for families living in East Oakland and they are selected through a random lottery, prioritizing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), which the city identifies as the groups with the greatest wealth differentials after that Oakland stock index.
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Applicants must also be on a low income and have at least 1 child under the age of 18. Applications can be submitted until June 30th at 5 p.m.
“The guaranteed income is intended to increase the dignity of the individual,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf when announcing the program.
City officials hope the program will improve the lives of low-income families, as it did in Stockton when former Mayor Michael Tubbs started a similar program three years ago.
“Poverty is not a personal failure, but a political failure,” said Schaaf. “Guaranteed income represents one of the most promising instruments for system change, racial justice and economic mobility that we have seen for decades. We are proud to begin the first phase of Oakland Resilient Families, which we believe will add to the growing evidence that the time has come for guaranteed federal income. ”
READ MORE: Oakland offers 600 BIPOC families a guaranteed income of $ 500 per month
The program aims to help Oakland residents who are at or below 50% of the city’s median income, equivalent to an annual salary of $ 59,000 for a family of three. Half of the winning applications are expected to be families earning less than 138% of the state poverty line, or about $ 30,000 per year for a family of three.
“For many of our low-income East Oakland residents, an additional $ 500 means they have enough cash to buy healthy groceries, pay for adequate childcare, get decent housing, and / or secure other tools that don’t only bring their families forward economically, but also “our community as a whole,” said Councilor Treva Reid during the announcement on Tuesday. “In our continued efforts to create a thriving East Oakland, I look forward to realizing the intended socio-economic impact of this pilot project.”
Families in East Oakland have shown interest in applying.
Jazzmyn, who has not given her last name, pulls a 1 year old girl with another on the way. She told KPIX 5 that she was having trouble getting enough diapers and a new toy for sulki every now and then.
“I have problems financially. I will not lie. I find it difficult to provide everything, ”said Jazzmyn.
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An extra $ 500 a month for a year and a half sounds too good to be true. “Five hundred could do a lot of things for us,” she said.
Rah Bowden, of the Room to Bloom Family Resource Center, helps nearby families distribute free diapers and assists in many other ways in East Oakland.
“You would definitely benefit from it. Hope and this resilience too. They are already resilient, they are content with what they have, but having that extra thing is a huge step up, ”Bowden told KPIX 5.
During the announcement on Tuesday, Schaaf also pointed out that undocumented families are eligible for the program and that their information will remain secret.
“We want families without papers to apply. We know that they have been excluded from funding and aid for pandemics, ”said Schaaf.
As part of the public relations effort, more than 200 nonprofits will begin handing out flyers to get the message across for the application.
“They are an important part of our engagement strategy to ensure we reach those who are hardest to reach,” said councilor Loren Taylor, who represents District 7.
Not everyone agrees that the program is actually helping the recipients.
“It keeps people out of the workforce and creates addiction regardless of who is behind the handout,” said activist and former San Francisco mayoral candidate Richie Greenberg.
The application phase for phase 2 should start this summer. It is to be opened nationwide for households with low incomes. Those interested can sign up to be notified when the citywide application is approved.
The Oakland Resilient Families program, funded entirely by donations, is a collaboration between the Family Independence Initiative and national mayors for a guaranteed income.
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To learn more about the program or to apply, visit the Oakland Resilient Families website.