How to Apply For Oakland’s Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Program
A key premise of the basic income experiments is to let residents use the payments however they see fit, bucking the post-welfare reform trend of placing requirements or restrictions around government aid.
The city initially asked exclusively for applicants of color, however, its website now states all residents who meet the program’s criteria are welcome to apply, regardless of race.
District 6 city council member Loren Taylor, whose district serves East Oakland, said the city will start outreach on Saturday into the one-block radius of East Oakland initially being targeted by the demonstration project, in partnership with 200 nonprofit organizations which are helping to get the word out.
Taylor said already some 9 thousand people have already subscribed to the email list to be notified when applications become available.
”We’ve got a lot of work ahead of ourselves over the next 22 days as we get as many of the eligible families as possible to complete the applications for phase one,” Taylor said. “Our focused outreach is to focus on the roughly one square mile between Havenscourt to 94th Avenue and between International and MacArthur Boulevard.”
In Stockton, which completed its program in February of last year, initial results showed that families who got the stipends were more likely to get jobs, be able to afford childcare and the cash helped them cover unexpected expenses with most of it being spent on basic necessities.
Oakland’s program doesn’t quite meet the threshold of a true, “universal” basic income program, the program’s operators said. UBI, as opposed to guaranteed income, is meant to go to everyone and provide enough of a payment to cover all basic needs, by contrast, a guaranteed income is meant to provide an income floor but not meant to be a replacement for wages and can also be targeted to those who most need it, according to Oakland’s guaranteed basic income website.
Treva Reid, District 7 council member also serving East Oakland said the Oakland neighborhood is disproportionately impacted by economic inequities, and that the weight of “multiple pandemics and systemic challenges” has only further harmed many of the residents.
“For many of our low-income residents in East Oakland, an additional five hundred dollars means having much-needed money to maintain their housing, to pay their rent, to pay for child care, to secure resources that not only will help economically support their families, “ Reid said, adding that the program could help stabilize these families to prevent them from being pushed out of Oakland.
KQED’s Guy Marzorati contributed to this story.