California moves to give guaranteed income for foster youth, pregnant women: a first in the US

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Martin Luther King Jr. Has championed the universal basic income which was advanced by Silicon Valley citizens as the “social vaccine for the 21st century”. Presidential candidate Andrew Yang in 2016 then supported the move, but no significant progress was made.

This might be the time for it to gain ground.

California lawmakers on Thursday have approved the guaranteed income program funded by the state, marking the first in the country. Once Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the bill, a $53 million pool can be provided that cities and countries can apply for. The fund will be allocated to back present or fresh pilots that put first foster youth who are not anymore under the foster care system, as well as pregnant mothers.

A form of guaranteed income was also unveiled by the White House through its new expanded Child Tax Credit which forms part of its pandemic aid program.

California’s program has followed the Bay Area and Stockton’s localized move. Oakland, Marin County, San Francisco and Santa Clara County, over the last couple of years, began basic income programs that are good for one or two years. Participants in the program, which is mainly supported by private donations, can avail of guaranteed $500 and $1, 000 dollars monthly.

The flow of support for the program came as the current pandemic revealed inequalities in wealth and race. Several low-income populations and minority groups shed their jobs and were hit the hardest in the current crisis.

Holly Mitchell, Los Angeles County supervisor, said that that pandemic “took the blinders off of what it means to live on the margins,” KRON4 reported.

“Everyone saw it,” Mitchell, who is also among the Mayors for Guaranteed Income members, added.