the Power of cash
Cash is a simple yet powerful way to do the most good for the most children.
A guaranteed income policy affirms that all children in our community deserve to fully develop their capabilities, reach their full potential, and lead self-directed lives.
What is Guaranteed Income?
Guaranteed income is a monthly cash payment given directly to families. It is unconditional, with no strings attached. A guaranteed income is meant to supplement, rather than replace, the existing social safety net and can be a tool for racial and gender equity.
> Monthly cash payments to 150 families for 24 months.
> Targeted geographic areas are ZIP codes with high rates of children experiencing poverty and disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
> Payments will have “no strings” attached, however participants will have the option to participate in coaching and financial literacy programs if desired.
While this is not a Mayor-led initiative, San Diego for Every Child and Jewish Family Service of San Diego are proud to have the support of Mayor Todd Gloria of San Diego and Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis of National City, who have pledged to support the effort as elected champions, enabling this pilot’s participation as part of Mayors for Guaranteed Income.
Frequently Asked Questions
What organization is managing Guaranteed Income Project?
The project is being driven by San Diego for Every Child, a county-wide initiative of individuals and organizations committed to cutting the experience of child poverty across San Diego County in half by 2030. San Diego for Every Child is committed to cultivating a deeper understanding around the root causes of child poverty by illuminating the systems-level changes needed to create a San Diego that works for every child. Jewish Family Service of San Diego acts as the coalition’s coordinating agency. Read more about San Diego for Every Child here.
Why a guaranteed income project?
San Diego for Every Child is piloting a guaranteed income project as an economic justice tool to help address the racial and gender inequities that impact the lives of children experiencing poverty. With COVID-19, social unrest, and an emerging recession, guaranteed income is an ideal program to address the experience of child poverty both in the current moment and beyond. This project is meant to inform future governmental and non-profit policies.
What are the specifics of Guaranteed Income Project?
- 150 families
- $500 a month
- 24 months
Who will Guaranteed Income Project help?
Guaranteed Income Project is designed to support families who were not only hit hardest by COVID-19, but who were struggling to make ends meet before. Families in the following zip codes were invited to apply:
- 92114 (Encanto/San Diego)
- 92139 (Paradise Hills/San Diego)
- 91950 (National City)
- 92173 (San Ysidro)
Why were the targeted ZIP codes selected?
These zip codes have high rates of unemployment, low household income, high rates of COVID-19 cases, high food insecurity, high rent burden (more than 30% of income), and environmental health concerns like air pollution. Residents in these zip codes are also predominantly communities of color.
How will families be selected?
The selection process is a random lottery from the qualified families that apply.
Are there any restrictions on what the money can be spent on?
No. Families have full control over how to spend the $500 monthly payment they receive for all 24 months. This is a “no strings attached” program; beyond eligibility and selection, there are no other requirements for receiving funds. There will be compensation to participate in periodic surveys and interviews, however, these are not required.
When will this start?
The project has already begun and is currently in Phase 2: Design and Fundraising. In fall 2021, San Diego for Every Child Guaranteed Income Project aims to move into Phase 3: Official launch and the beginning of direct cash payments to families.
How much does this cost?
Guaranteed Income Project is currently fundraising for this $2.9 million dollar project.
What about non-English speaking families or families that aren’t online?
Program information, applications, and surveys will all be multilingual.
Will this extra money impact taxes or benefits?
San Diego for Every Child and Jewish Family Service of San Diego are working with the County of San Diego and the State of California on benefits waivers, which would exempt families receiving this additional income from losing losing some of their existing benefits. However, other benefits may be impacted. To mitigate this, families will receive benefits counseling to understand the implications within their individual circumstances. Because participants are not required to do anything in return for receiving the payments, the money is generally considered to be a gift from a non-profit organization and therefore is not considered taxable income.
How are families chosen and how will they apply?
Late summer or early fall, a multilingual online form will be released where families can answer a few questions to screen for eligibility. After that, families will be selected randomly by lottery to receive cash payments.
What are the research questions this project seeks to answer?
Initial research questions are:
- How does guaranteed income impact the adverse effects of poverty and individual-level outcomes, including mental health, housing stability, employment, parenting and more?
- How can human services agencies shift their service delivery models to have greater impact?
- How can guaranteed income be paired with other policy initiatives to generate structural change within programs such as benefit payments?
How do I learn more?
In pursuit of a more just society
San Diego for Every Child is piloting a guaranteed income project as an economic justice tool to help address the racial and gender inequities that impact the lives of children experiencing poverty.
With COVID-19, social unrest, and an emerging recession, guaranteed income is an ideal program to address the experience of child poverty both in the current moment and beyond.
San Diego for Every Child is committed to cultivating a deeper understanding around the root causes of child poverty by illuminating the systems-level changes needed to create a San Diego that works for every child.
“I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective – the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.”