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'Income inequality is at its highest rate' | San Diego guaranteed income program launches

150 families will receive $500 cash payments for 24 months that can be spent on needs such as food, repairing a car to get to work, medicine, and more.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego nonprofit San Diego for Every Child received $1.4 million from the CA annual budget in a pilot project for the region's first guaranteed income project.

In a press conference Friday, California Senator Ben Hueso (District 40), National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, and others rolled out the program specifics in Encanto that will allow 150 families to receive $500 cash payments for 24 months.

The program will select 150 families of color with at least one child under the age of 12 living in San Diego and National City – in specific zip codes - to receive $500 cash payments for 24 months that can be spent on needs such as food, repairing a car to get to work, medicine to treat a loved one or rent. 

  • 92114 (Encanto)
  • 92139 (Paradise Hills)
  • 91950 (National City)
  • 92173 (San Ysidro)  

Senator Ben Hueso said that it is “time to end the narrative that people experiencing poverty simply need to work harder or make better choices,” through a released statement. “Income inequality is at its highest rate since right before the Great Depression and is, at least in part, a result of policies and laws in this country that perpetuate poverty and racial inequity. Guaranteed income programs like San Diego for Every Child’s can dramatically improve families’ well-being and are an important step to help address some of the economic and social challenges we currently face in this country.”

In the release, Senator Toni Atkins shared how it could help those families that need it most. “This year’s state budget is one of the most equitable and transformative budgets in California’s history. It allows for bold, once-in-a-generation investments,” said Atkins. “I was honored to join my colleague Senator Ben Hueso in supporting a $1.4 million allocation to Jewish Family Service of San Diego for a Universal Basic Income pilot program. This initiative is designed to lift up our region’s families and combat childhood poverty.

San Diego for Every Child’s eligibility survey for participation in the Guaranteed Income Project is now open through Monday, December 6. 

The survey is available in English, Spanish, Somali, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Chinese and Arabic. Participants will be selected and contacted in January 2022.

WATCH: San Diego nonprofit announces guaranteed income pilot project to help families with direct payments (April 2021)