San Diego, CA

San Diego guaranteed income program gives families $500 a month for two years

Beth Torres

Inflation is taking its toll on family budgets, nowhere more so than high-cost San Diego. Fortunately, a guaranteed income program developed and managed by San Diego for Every Child and Jewish Family Service has relieved some of that financial strain for 150 families in the San Diego area.

San Diego’s first-ever guaranteed income program began distributing monthly payments in March 2022. The $2.9 million pilot program is set to run for two years and will provide the selected 150 families with $500 each month.

To qualify, the families must have a child under the age of 12 and live in one of the four targeted zip codes that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and where childhood poverty is high. These areas include Encanto, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro, and National City.

How families spend guaranteed income

The no-strings attached money allows families to spend the funds however they choose. One single parent said the money helped him provide new school supplies for his children and diapers for his toddler. With continued backing from the county, the hope is to expand the guaranteed income program to hundreds more San Diego families in the future.

This video from KPBS News discusses the pilot program and how some participating families anticipate using the much-needed extra cash to pay for medical bills, childcare, and to fund emergency savings:

Other guaranteed income programs that provide cash assistance

Interested in learning more about guaranteed income programs? Read my article about one Illinois program that is offering select residents $6,000 in guaranteed income. Another program in Santa Clara County will provide $1,000 a month to homeless high school seniors.

What do you think about guaranteed income programs?

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