Making It in the Bay

Fremont City Leaders Vote to Study Universal Basic Income Pilot Program

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Fremont could become the next Bay Area city to create universal basic income for residents as city leaders late Tuesday decided to study a pilot program similar to what Oakland and other California cities have launched.

The Fremont City Council voted to research the basic income pilot to see if it would be worthwhile to provide such funds for lower-income residents, families at risk of homelessness and young people transitioning out of foster care.

The vote directs city staff to explore ways to fund the program, including applying for grants.

Oakland and Los Angeles already have invested in universal basic income as a means for curbing poverty. Wednesday is the last day Oakland is accepting applications for its program.

Oakland’s guaranteed income program, which is now in Phase 2 is privately funded. It provides low-income families of color $500 a month for a year and a half, no strings attached. Phase 2 has space for 300 families.

To be eligible, families must meet three criteria: 1, Live in Oakland; 2, Have a child in the household younger than 18; 3, Have an annual household income of no more than 138% of Federal Poverty Line.

Eligible Oakland residents can apply on the city of Oakland website.

The city of Stockton launched its universal basic income program a couple of years ago, giving $500 a month to residents selected at random, paid for by donations from private organizations. The program found that people did not stop working in spite of the guaranteed income; stress decreased; mental health improved; and people were better parents as a result.

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