City to Consider Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Program at Meeting

City Hall

City to Consider Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Program at Meeting

The Alameda City Council will consider whether to implement a Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) pilot program, designed to help Alameda’s most vulnerable residents who are disproportionately affected by a wide range of financial challenges.

Council will hear a presentation from city staff on the topic at its May 17 meeting. At a July 2021 meeting, council requested a report about the development of a GBI program.

GBI programs provide a flat monthly cash payment to a defined population of residents. These programs are distinct from other financial assistance programs in that they are unconditional, unrestricted, and include regular payments for a period of time, according to a City of Alameda press release. This flexibility allows recipients to make their own spending decisions that best meet their basic needs.

Council will discuss whether to allocate $4.6 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 Funds for the GBI pilot program at the meeting. The city has $7,635,308 out of $28,679,908 ARPA funds remaining to be allocated. So, if the plan is approved it would leave the city with just over $3 million ARPA funds left.

There are nearly 100 GBI pilot programs in the United States, including in Oakland and San Francisco. The majority of GBI pilot programs in California and around the country provide payments of between $500 to $1,000 per month for about 12 to 24 months, according to the meeting memorandum. Most pilot programs target youth aging out of foster care benefits, low-income (30-50% AMI) individuals and/or families, artists, and pregnant and perinatal women.

The City of Stockton’s pilot program, which launched in 2019, is one of the best-known examples in the country. The Stockton program demonstrated increased financial stability among recipients when compared to a control group.

“A guaranteed income program aligns with the city’s multi-pronged approach to reducing poverty and inequity and would serve as a direct response to some of the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the meeting memorandum.

City staff will be present pilot program options at the meeting on May 17.

If the City Council gives direction to proceed with a GBI pilot program, staff will outline a series of tasks necessary to finalize the research and administrative structure, with a possible program launch in spring or summer 2023.

To view the May 17 City Council agenda, register to attend the meeting by Zoom, or read the staff report about the GBI pilot program, visit