Oakland accepting applications for second phase of guaranteed income pilot program

Hundreds more Oakland families will get a gift of money monthly thanks to the second phase of their city's guaranteed income pilot program, city officials said Wednesday.

Oakland Resilient Families, as the pilot is called, began accepting applications Wednesday and will provide 300 families with a monthly benefit of $500 for 18 months, no strings attached.

The application period closes on Nov. 3 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time. The application is available in six languages.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has repeatedly said poverty is not a personal failure.

On Wednesday, she said, "We know that poverty is policy failure."

She and other mayors have called and are calling on state and national leaders to implement a guaranteed income program through higher levels of government.   Schaaf said the first phase of the program has already helped some Oaklanders. One person "now has a light in her eyes," the mayor said. Another can volunteer at a food bank to help others because she is less stressed, Schaaf said.

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The second phase of Oakland Resilient Families will extend a hand up to people at the lowest level of income in the city. Applications are open to any family in the city that has at least one dependent child and meets income requirements.

Income requirements and other information can be found here. For a family of two, the most the family can receive in income is $20,040 and for a family of three, $30,305.

The first phase of the program was limited to families living in one square mile of East Oakland. Over 300 families were part of the first phase, and they have been receiving money for months.

"We can trust people with money to make the right decisions for themselves and their families," former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs said at Wednesday's announcement with Schaaf and others.

Tubbs and the Economic Security Project, which is advocating for a guaranteed income and actions to rein in concentrated corporate power, started Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, which Schaaf joined as a founding member last year.

"People don't stop working," Tubbs said of people who receive a guaranteed income. "People become more productive."

He said people can find work that works for them, and they do things like getting the car repaired to get to work.

Tubbs said a guaranteed income was part of the Black Panther Party's plan. City officials expect the initial pilot program to improve the lives of the recipients as well as the community.

Applicants who meet the eligibility requirements will be selected by lottery and not on a first-come, first-served basis. The lottery is expected to be held in December, then verification will take place and families will be told by email whether they are approved.

Oakland Resilient Families is funded through philanthropic donations rather than by taxpayers. Schaaf said the program is open to accepting gifts from more philanthropists to extend the length of the program or add to the number families helped.

The second phase of the pilot will be studied in a randomized control trial by researchers at the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania.