Government pays you to live

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and other leaders on Tuesday announced the framework for one of the nation’s largest guaranteed income pilots that will distribute monthly payments to hundreds of Oakland families.

Calling it a historic moment, Schaaf said that 600 families will be able to receive $500 a month for 18 months with no strings attached.

The roughly $6.7 million will all be coming from the philanthropic organization, Blue Meridian Partners; no taxpayer money will be used. Applicants can learn more here. 

Families can apply later this spring and they will be randomly selected from the applicant pool as long as the families meet the basic income requirements. Oakland Resilient Families is not a first-come-first-served program and is open to undocumented residents and unsheltered families. The program is a partnership with the Family Independence Initiative and the national Mayors for a Guaranteed Income.

Schaaf said she hoped checks would be in the families’ hands by spring and summer. Families can participate in surveys and interviews, but they don’t have too.

Despite the good news, Schaaf said she knew that the money was hardly enough to make a real dent in poverty. The money is intended to narrow Oakland’s racial income gap, where the median African-American income is less than $50,000 a year and the median white income is more than $100,000.

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