Nearly two years after Long Beach first announced it would test the effectiveness of a guaranteed income program, in which certain residents would get regular cash payments from the city, 250 families are now receiving that money.

Officials have begun issuing the first round of $500 monthly payments to the selected families, the city announced Friday. The families will get the cash every month for a year, and the city will partner with Cal State Long Beach to study how the families use the money, which could inform how to implement similar programs in the future.

“Our communities need critical assistance to recover from the financial burdens of the pandemic,” Mayor Rex Richardson said in a statement. “The Long Beach Pledge is providing that financial support to our most vulnerable families. We look forward to distributing these funds, evaluating the positive impacts of this pilot program and identifying expanded opportunities for guaranteed income programs.”

To qualify for the program, which the city has dubbed the Long Beach Pledge, participants must have children, live in the 90813 ZIP code, fall below 100% of the federal poverty line and have just one income earner for their household.

Long Beach received 2,800 applications for the program, which it then narrowed down to the final 250 households. Based on the families that were selected, 937  people overall will benefit from the program, 583 of whom are children, according to the city.

The city is paying for the program with federal COVID-19 stimulus funds. Through the Long Beach Recovery Act, city officials allocated $2 million from those federal funds to create and evaluate a guaranteed income program.

Long Beach announces basic income program targeting single-parents in Central, West Long Beach