Oakland program offering $500 a month to low-income families of color

A new privately funded program will give low-income families of color $500 per month in Oakland with no rules attached. 

According to the Associated Press, the Oakland Resilient Families program was announced on Tuesday by Mayor Libby Schaaf. 

This is not the first time a program like this has been created. In 2019, Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton, California, launched the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration. 

Once known as the country’s foreclosure capital, the city chose 125 people who live at or below the city’s medium income to get a debit card on the 15th of each month. 

Tubbs also founded the group Mayors for a Guaranteed Income which plans to have six similar programs up and running by the summer. 

“We have designed this demonstration project to add to the body of evidence, and to begin this relentless campaign to adopt a guaranteed income federally,” Schaaf said about Oakland’s program.

So far, private donors, including Blue Meridian Partners, have raised $6.75 million. 

To qualify for the program, a family must have at least one child under the age of 18 and income at or below 50% of the median income, which is about $59,000 per year. 

Half of the spots have been reserved for people who earn below 138% of the federal poverty level, which is about $30,000 a year for a family of three. 

RELATED: Budget office: $15 wage would reduce poverty, increase debt

Participants will be randomly selected from a pool of applicants who meet eligibility requirements. 

This program is the first of its kind to limit participation strictly to communities of color. 

The program faces criticism from some, including labor unions, who worry it would eliminate other programs like Social Security and food stamps. 

Mayor Schaaf said those programs are here to stay. 

More information about the program can be found here.

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