Oakland to Give Low-Income Families Hit Hard by Pandemic $500 a Month

Officials say 300 families will be chosen by a lottery

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An Oakland program launched Tuesday aims to help low-income families hit hard by the pandemic move closer to financial stability.

The city's guaranteed income program provides $500 a month over the next 18 months to families selected with no strings attached. A requirement for low-income families applying include having at least one child under 18.

Officials said 300 families will be chosen by a lottery. The first phase of the program launched Tuesday concentrates on a very small and very disadvantaged part of East Oakland hit by the pandemic.

"We've been maintaining, but it has definitely been a challenge," said Adrian Muhammad, who adds the last year and a half has been a struggle for him and his neighbors.

Muhammad, a father of four children, lost part of his income when the pandemic hit.

"It's been kind of hard," he said. "The kids are at home doing distance learning, so they are extra hungry these days. They eat more than usual."

Muhammad said the extra cash could definitely help. He plans to apply and hopes his family gets selected.

"Every little bit helps," he said.

The second phase of the program will launch later this summer and will fund 300 more eligible families citywide.

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