Oakland to give low-income Black, Indigenous families $500 per month

'The poverty we all witness today is not a personal failure, it is a systems failure,' said Mayor Libby Schaaf 

Loading the player...

Oakland, California residents could receive some free money soon thanks to a new project aiming to help residents overcome economic instability.

According to the Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaaf, a $500 monthly payout could be coming to hundreds of people of color, Black, and Indigenous families for over a year, per CNN.

“The poverty we all witness today is not a personal failure, it is a systems failure,” said Schaaf in a statement. “Guaranteed income is one of the most promising tools for systems change, racial equity, and economic mobility we’ve seen in decades.”

In order to qualify for the Oakland Resilient Families payments program, residents must have at least one child under the age of 18 and income needs to be below $59,000 for a family of three.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Discusses U.S. Constitution With School Children
OAKLAND, CA – JANUARY 19: Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf looks on during an assembly at Edna Brewer Middle School about the U.S. Constitution on January 19, 2018 in Oakland, California. Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf discussed the U.S. Constitution with middle schoolers a day after she said she would be willing to go to jail to defend Oakland’s sanctuary city policy following rumors that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents would be conducting raids and arresting up to 1,500 undocumented immigrants in Northern California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Read More: California adopts first statewide ethnic studies curriculum

The program is apart of the city’s guaranteed income project, which is designed to combat poverty. The project is geared toward helping communities with wealth disparities and the funds are meant to supplement other wages.

The monies are not considered taxable income and undocumented and/or unsheltered individuals also qualify.

An online multilingual screening form will be made available this spring and summer. Recipients will be chosen at random to receive the funds.

Back in December, it was announced that Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey also supports universal income. As per theGrio, the tech guru is providing a $15 million grant to support basic income programs around the country.

The funds will be dispersed to mayors who participate in Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), a group made up of 29 mayors who are creating a plan or are already distributing funds to residents that need the additional financial support.

“Thank you Mayor and to all the Mayors of @mayorsforagi for these universal basic income pilots! I hope they inform federal policy in the future,” Dorsey tweeted.

Read More: Oakland, Calif. mural honors women of the Black Panther Party

“I think this idea [of UBI] is long overdue,” Dorsey said to Andrew Yang back in May. “and I think the only way that we can change policy is by experimenting and showing case studies of why this works. And a number of other countries have proven small experiments as well, but we have to do it here.” 

Yang was the startup entrepreneur who ran in the 2020 presidential election. A large part of his campaign involved issuing a $1,000 monthly check for adults. The idea of giving money without restrictions or Universal basic income (UBI) has been around for centuries and allows folks to receive free money in hopes of reducing poverty and supporting their basic needs.

According to a study by HuffPost, the idea has proven to be successful in places like Kenya, India, Canada, and Finland.

Former Mayor of Stockton, California, Michael Tubbs launched a pilot basic income program in 2019 that provides 125 low-income residents $500. The program is still young but has proven to have an impact.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...