In his State of The City address Monday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed a $24 million anti-poverty program that would give cash to thousands of residents.
Garcetti’s Basic Income Guaranteed program would provide $1,000 a month to 2,000 Los Angeles families for a year. There would be no obligations or strings attached to how families can spend the money. The program would be the largest universal basic income program in the country.
Universal basic income (UBI) programs have been launched all over the country in recent years. A UBI program in Stockton, California, gives low-income residents $500 a month for two years. A similar program in Oakland will also give low-income residents $500 with no strings attached.
“We’re betting that one small but steady investment for Angeleno households will pay large dividends for health and stability across our city and light a fire across our nation,” Garcetti told reporters Monday.
Garcetti’s program will use $11 million in funds diverted from the city’s police budget to launch the program in South LA and the San Fernando Valley. In South LA, a UBI program that will begin this summer will provide $1,000 a month for one year to 500 households headed by a single parent.
Additional programs are being discussed in other neighborhoods in Los Angeles including Baldwin Hills, Crenshaw, North Hollywood, and Sun Valley. These programs would be in addition to the $24 million program Garcetti proposed Monday.
Garcetti has been a supporter of universal income and is a member of the Mayors For a Guaranteed Income, which was started last year, and believes in a UBI at the local, state, and federal levels.
UBI programs help those in poverty pay bills, buy or repair vehicles, pay for childcare, prescriptions, food, and other things. According to Vox, UBI programs have been launched in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Finland, Germany and Spain.
Garcetti also proposed a $1 billion plan to address the city’s homeless crisis.