California lawmakers to vote on bill that would fund guaranteed income programs across the state
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Removed from her mother’s custody at age 17, Naihla De Jesus bounced between living with an aunt, a godmother and a boyfriend until landing in a transitional housing program for former foster kids.
She became ineligible for that program when she turned 24 last year, which normally would have ended her government assistance as a foster child. Instead, the taxpayers of Santa Clara County have been paying her $1,000 per month with no restrictions on how she can spend it, part of a unique “guaranteed income” program targeting former foster care children.
Now, the California Legislature is scheduled to vote Thursday on a bill that would help pay for guaranteed income programs like this across the state. It would be the first state-funded program of its kind in the country, a major step for supporters whose goal is to take guaranteed income nationally.
“The next stop is the federal government,” said Michael Tubbs, an advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom who ran a high-profile guaranteed income program while he was mayor of Stockton, California.
For decades, most government assistance programs have had strict rules about how the money should be spent, usually limiting benefits to things like food or housing. But a guaranteed income program gives money to people with no rules on how to spend it. The idea is to reduce the stresses of poverty that cause health problems and make it harder for people to find and keep work.
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