Davidson News

Davidson News

$725 Monthly Income for Sacramento’s Black and Native American Families

Groundbreaking Basic Monthly Income Pilot Program

Courtesy of Sacramento County
$725 Monthly Income for Sacramento’s Black and Native American Families (PHOTO: Capital Public Radio)

Preliminary Success and Program Objectives

Sacramento County has launched a ground-breaking program to give its most economically disadvantaged citizens unconditional payments, following a growing trend in the United States. The basic-income pilot program, which was recently approved by the Sacramento Board of Supervisors, will soon provide low-income Black and Native American families with $725 per month, highlighting attempts to address systematic disparities.

This ground-breaking project, made possible by a collaboration with United Way, demonstrates Sacramento County’s ongoing dedication to looking into cutting-edge ways to fight poverty and assist underserved areas. The most recent project is a major extension in scope and ambition, building upon earlier partnerships with United Way, which saw about 100 families benefit from a $300 monthly stipend in the county’s first program from June 2021 to May 2023.

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National Movement and Strategic Focus

The results of the prior program are still being evaluated, but a preliminary report has shown encouraging trends: three of the four participants said they felt more confident about reaching their financial goals. The county’s director of child, family, and adult services, Michelle Callejas, stressed the guaranteed-income program’s larger context within an all-encompassing plan to address child poverty. Callejas outlined the program’s main objectives, which are to reduce engagement with the juvenile justice system, increase family stability, and promote self-sufficiency, while drawing attention to alarming discrepancies in the county’s child welfare system.

The effort by Sacramento County is in line with a nationwide movement in which states, counties, and local governments are experimenting with basic-income projects as a means of addressing the growing issues of homelessness and poverty. Sacramento’s pilot program seeks to meet the urgent needs that community members have highlighted, drawing similarities with projects in Austin and Baltimore where comparable programs have produced significant results. The program’s strategic focus was shaped by the identification of critical areas of concern, including access to food, housing, transportation, childcare, and necessary services, through comprehensive community surveys.

The basic-income trial, which is slated to start paying out in July 2024 and prolong payments over a year, is a daring move in the direction of promoting social justice and economic resilience in Sacramento County. Sacramento’s creative approach is a beacon of hope as the country struggles with longstanding disparities made worse by economic hardship. It advances a vision of inclusive prosperity for everyone while providing concrete support to those who are most in need.

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