October 20, 2023

Guaranteed Income Makes a Difference for San Diego Families

“An Invitation to Dream” mini-documentary highlights the experience 

When families who are living below the poverty line experience an unexpected financial occurrence like their car breaking down or a healthcare crisis or childcare challenges that impact the parent’s ability to go to work, a safety net of guaranteed, predictable monthly income can make all the difference in the world.

cover image for guaranteed income project video

We were proud to be an initial funding catalyst and partner in the San Diego for Every Child Jewish Family Service San Diego Guaranteed Income Project with backbone support provided by Jewish Family Service.  The program provided $500 per month, without restrictions, to 150 San Diego families with children for 24 months post the Covid-19 pandemic. Families know best what they need. It might mean paying off all bills each month, getting necessary car repairs done, or finishing school. Please watch the video and learn what the money meant to these San Diego families.

The results of this local program add to the growing body of evidence from other guaranteed basic income pilots across the U.S. that demonstrate that direct cash assistance, without restrictions, improves peoples’ lives. With a vision toward policy change that would provide a federal “income floor” for families, pilot programs are being researched and their results are being documented and shared widely.

If you’re curious and want to learn more about how guaranteed basic income works, we invite you to watch any or all of this series titled Basic Income Works, produced by a guaranteed income pilot participant and shared by the Economic Security Project.

You might wonder how this movement got started. Some say it grew out of the favorable results from the Federal Child Tax Credit, which was established as part of the Taxpayer Relief Act in 1997, and has since been expanded over time, most recently during the Covid-19 pandemic through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

The Child Tax Credit (CTC) has had a substantial impact on reducing child poverty by providing financial support directly to families. Regular, predicable cash payments help families stabilize their finances and cover child-related expenses which in turn have positive effects on health, education, and overall child development.

For us at Alliance, we were inspired early on by the movement building work of Mauricio Lim Miller, founder of Family Independence Initiative in Oakland, now known as UpTogether. In this recent interview with Jesús Gerena, CEO of UpTogether, you can learn about the value of direct investment through unrestricted cash grants to families facing financial hardship.

In summary, when the Child Tax Credit is complemented with guaranteed income programs like the one in San Diego and other places in the country, families can really begin to take action in building a better life for themselves. This may include finishing school or moving for better employment and housing opportunities. The ripple effect of this economic activity and wellbeing benefits all of us. # # #

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