If you’re a San Diego resident, it will come as no surprise that the area’s high cost of living is putting a financial strain on many families. Median rent for a modest two-bedroom apartment in San Diego has climbed to $3,420 a month, up 26 percent over the past year. And according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 11.8 percent of San Diegans live in poverty.
Several local government and nonprofit agencies are looking to help alleviate some of the financial stress felt by families through guaranteed income programs. In August, we reported on the San Diego For Every Child program that gives 150 low-income families a guaranteed $500 a month for two years.
And now the county government has plans to launch a new cash assistance program with the goal of helping hundreds of area families. The specific goal of this new program is to provide financial assistance to low-income families who are at risk of intervention from the county’s child welfare system due to neglect or abuse.
Under the county’s program, families that are selected to participate will receive $500 a month of “no strings attached” cash assistance. Recipients can spend the money however they see fit to meet their family’s immediate needs.
A study of a similar guaranteed income program in Stockton, California found that the unconditional cash helped recipients find full-time income, pay for transportation costs, and childcare costs.
Some recipients used the money to obtain education and training needed to work better-paying jobs. Some families used the money to pay for unexpected expenses without having to go into debt.
Black Women Resilience Project
Two San Diego nonprofit organizations are coming together to launch a third guaranteed income program, the Black Women Resilience Project. Café X and Jewish Family Service will initially give 25 low-income Black women $1,000 a month in guaranteed income. Eventually, the nonprofits plan to grow the program to assist 50 women.
In addition to the cash, the $2.8 million program will provide coaching to the women centering on self-actualization, mental health, Black culture, and economic mobility. Another focus of the program is to help address the racial wealth gap that grew as a result of the pandemic.
Guaranteed income programs expanding throughout the nation
There has been an increase in the number of experimental guaranteed income programs launching around the United States. Here are some of the programs we’ve recently reported on:
- The city of Mountain View is giving select families $12,000 over two years through their Elevate MV program.
- A guaranteed income program in Chicago gives 5,000 low-income residents a total of $6,000.
- Two Los Angeles cash assistance programs provide $1,000 per month to selected recipients.
What do you think about San Diego’s newest guaranteed income programs?
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