Long Beach’s guaranteed income pilot program will start taking applications this month

Long Beach’s guaranteed income pilot program, the Long Beach Pledge, is set to begin accepting applications this month, according to city officials. The program will provide 250 single-parent families living in the 90813 ZIP code with $500 monthly payments for a year.

To be eligible for the Long Beach Pledge, residents must be single parents and live at or below the poverty line in the 90813 ZIP code, which includes the lower Westside, the Washington neighborhood, Cambodia Town and MacArthur Park. For a family of four, the maximum annual income would be $27,750.

A screenshot of income brackets eligible for the Long Beach Pledge.

Applications for the program will open sometime in mid-November, but an exact date has not been set, according to the city. It is unclear how families will be chosen, how long the application will be open and what exact information families will need to provide, but a social security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number are not required to apply.

According to the newly launched Long Beach Pledge website, families that are chosen will also receive tools to help them succeed along with their monthly payments including financial counseling and supportive services. Those services could include free child care, transportation support, workforce training and support for digital inclusion like cell phones and internet connection.

The city has partnered with the nonprofit organization Fund for Guaranteed Income (F4GI) to help facilitate the program and build a platform to administer payments and connect participants to supportive services.

F4GI recently launched a similar guaranteed income program in Compton which provided 800 families with payments between $300 and $600 every month for two years, no strings attached. Payments are disbursed through direct deposit, Venmo, PayPal or a prepaid debit card.

The 90813 ZIP code was chosen because the area has the highest concentration of poverty within the city and was one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Focusing direct payments in the area of the city with the highest concentration of poverty will allow for the greatest potential for community impact and will provide data that will contribute to guaranteed income research currently underway throughout the United States,” the Long Beach Pledge website says.

According to the website, an independent evaluation team will track the impact of the program on the livelihoods of participants, and at the end of the year, the hope is that the success of the pilot will help inform the design of future guaranteed income policies at the local, state and federal level.

At the end of the one-year program, payments will end and the data collected will be shared through a report that will be presented to the City Council. Program participants will be notified months in advance about the program’s end and will receive additional supportive resources if needed, the website says.

The Long Beach Pledge website also features a donation page where community members can contribute money toward the pilot program’s expansion. The donations will be used to either extend the duration of payments to families or to offer more families the opportunity to participate.

To receive more information about the program and be notified when applications open, residents can sign up for the newsletter on the Long Beach Pledge website.

Editor’s note: This article was updated to correct that the maximum annual income for elegible participants would be $27,750.

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Laura Anaya-Morga is a general assignment reporter for the Long Beach Post.
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