By Phoenix Tso/LAist

Originally published Oct 27, 2021

Los Angeles city officials announced Wednesday a universal basic income pilot program, known as the Big:Leap. More than 3,200 low-income families facing extreme financial challenges because of the Covid-19 pandemic will be chosen at random to receive $1,000 a month for one year starting in January.

“We’re looking to help, first and foremost, people to break out of poverty,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “And because the majority of Angelenos who live below the poverty line are Angelenos of color, we see guaranteed basic income as a means of building a stronger social safety net, and as an instrument of racial equality.”

Mayor Garcetti’s budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year proposed a $24 million guaranteed basic income project. After several members of the City Council made additional investments in the project, the total money available is now $38 million. Councilman Curren Price’s office contributed $6 million to the project, the largest of the council district investments.

“Our community struggles day in and day out to maintain the most basic necessities,” Price said. “And so that’s why we’re excited because this big leap is going to help bridge that divide. It’s not going to eliminate it, but it’s going to help bridge it.”

Price partnered with Garcetti and Councilmembers Nury Martinez and Marqueece Harris-Dawson to implement the program. Families who are chosen will also have the chance to participate in a study by the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania, which is a partner in the project and is studying the effects of universal basic income programs.

Applications will open online for 10 days starting this Friday at 8 a.m. Applications will also be taken in person at Price’s district office at 4301 S. Central Ave.More information on the Big Leap program is available on the city’s website.

This report is reprinted with permission from Southern California Public Radio. © 2021 Southern California Public Radio. All rights reserved.

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