Compton Launches Largest 2-Year Guaranteed Income Program Amid Calculating Racial Injustice

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Hundreds of people living in the California city of Compton, including those released from prison and illegal immigrants, will be eligible for guaranteed income under a new pilot program over the next two years.

Compton Mayor Aja Brown announced Monday that The Compton Pledge, a landmark guaranteed income initiative, will distribute direct, recurring cash relief to approximately 800 low-income residents for two years, starting at the end of 2020.

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It is the largest city-led guaranteed income program in the United States to date and comes amid a nationwide reckoning on racial injustice and inequality. According to the city, all funds are raised privately in partnership with the Jain Family Institute, an applied research group, and the Fund for Guaranteed Income, a registered public charity launched to manage guaranteed income as a path to racial justice. .

Those who have been formally incarcerated, as well as illegal immigrants, are eligible for the program and may receive regular cash payments worth at least hundreds of dollars.

Patrisse Cullors, advocate for the Compton Pledge and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, said: “Guaranteed income is an urgent and necessary strategy to address the economic realities of racial injustice. I am delighted that Mayor Brown and Compton are leading the way in this growing national movement.

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Brown said her own household growing up could have benefited from a guaranteed income program because her mother was forced to travel frequently for unforeseen expenses or emergencies.

“People in our community are going through tough times, and I know a guaranteed income could give people a moment to navigate their situation and have some leeway to go back to school, explore a new career, move on. time with their children, or improve their mental and emotional well-being, ”Brown said in a statement. “Ensuring that all people can live with dignity is something we should all strive to achieve in America. “

As part of the program, a pre-verified group of low-income residents will be notified of their selection and will begin receiving cash transfers shortly thereafter. Recipients will be able to choose from several payment options to better meet their needs. The city said the situation in Compton “acutely faces many issues that have defined a national conversation about racial injustice and structural inequality.”

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Of the city’s roughly 95,000 residents, around 30% are black and 68% are Latino. About one in five people live in poverty, double the national average. Unemployment has risen 21.9% since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and a growing number of residents regularly depend on pantries.

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