WeHo begins testing guaranteed income payouts

West Hollywood will begin offering “unconditional” monthly cash payments for qualifying residents as part of a new guaranteed income pilot program.

The city will give $1,000 each month from April 2022 through September 2023 — a total of $17,000 over 17 months — to 25 randomly selected residents who sign up for the program.

Participants must live in West Hollywood, be 50 years old or older, identify as LGBTQIA and make $41,400 or less per year. Interested residents can apply here. The application period begins Feb. 26 and ends March 6.

Guaranteed income has become a red hot topic within city government over the past year. Both Mayor Lauren Meister and former mayor/current Councilmember Lindsey Horvath have been involved with the Mayors for Guaranteed Income coalition, a network of mayors around the country running guaranteed income test pilots.

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“Why is West Hollywood experimenting with universal basic income?” wondered San Francisco Chronicle last August as city staff were designing the guaranteed income program for WeHo, which it noted has a median per capita income that is twice the national average.

Nika Soon-Shiong, a Public Safety Commissioner appointed by Horvath, is even more deeply involved in the guaranteed income movement.

The daughter of Los Angeles Times owner and billionaire mogul Patrick Soon-Shiong is co-director of the Compton Pledge, which TIME magazine called a “laboratory for wealth distribution” that “gives some of society’s poorest and most marginalized people cold-hard cash, and then lets them spend it however they want.” She established the World Bank Group’s strategy for managing partnerships with global technology companies and researched cash transfer systems as a graduate student at Oxford University.


The City of West Hollywood, in collaboration with nonprofit partner, National Council of Jewish Women/LA, will open applications for the first pilot project for guaranteed income in the nation aimed at evaluating the impact of cash payments on the financial stability and quality of life of LGBTQIA older adults. Guaranteed income is a direct and regular cash payment – no strings attached – provided to a specific group of people for a designated time. Guaranteed income pilots are a way to test the impact of these payments, while also providing a service to help financially stabilize community members and learn information to help create future, evidence-based policies and programs.

Community members who are interested in applying for the West Hollywood Pilot for Guaranteed Income must reside in the City of West Hollywood, be 50 years or older, identify as LGBTQIA, and have an individual income of $41,400 or less. The application period will open on February 25, 2022 and will close on March 6, 2022. The program will be facilitated by the National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles. Learn more and apply online at  www.ncjwla.org/whpgi. People who need assistance applying may call (323) 852-8500, ext. 650, or may send an email message to whpgi@ncjwla.org.

A total of 25 qualifying participants will be randomly selected from the pool of eligible applicants to receive unconditional monthly $1,000 payments from April 2022 through September 2023.

In January 2021, the West Hollywood City Council approved an item for the City of West Hollywood to join the Mayors for Guaranteed Income (MGI) network and directed staff to develop a guaranteed income pilot program for West Hollywood, including identification of research, funding, community implementation, and evaluation partners.

There are numerous cities, counties, and private guaranteed income pilots happening throughout the nation, all providing unconditional cash payments to determine the impact of guaranteed income. The City of West Hollywood seeks to test the emerging promise of guaranteed income to help prevent homelessness, support community members as they age in place, and to reduce the stressors of poverty and financial insecurity. The City, with the help of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI) and the Center for Guaranteed Income at the University of Pennsylvania (CGIR), has developed a data-driven guaranteed income pilot that will be the first LGBTQIA-focused pilot and the first older adult-focused pilot in the nation.

The West Hollywood Pilot for Guaranteed Income seeks to examine impact in the following areas:

·       Effectiveness of guaranteed income on participants’ housing stability, health and mental health, and economic security;

·       Quantitative data to evaluate the collective impact of guaranteed income on different populations;

·       Unique qualitative narrative and ethnographic information to provide greater understanding into the income challenges faced by LGBTQIA older adults in West Hollywood and inform the creation of evidence-based policies and programs to better support the health and well-being of LGBTQIA older adults; and

·       Test the concept of guaranteed income to evaluate whether to expand the initial pilot or create new/additional pilots in the City.

Focusing these efforts on LGBTQIA older adults living on a low income aligns with the City’s history, current demographics, and data indicating the vulnerability of this population. According to the Williams Institute at UCLA’s School of Law, LGBT older adults are financially less secure than their non-LGBT peers due to lifelong disparities and barriers to accessing programs that support aging adults; the national poverty rate for LGBT people is 21.6 percent as compared to 15.7 percent for cisgender non-LGBT people.

The local community’s high percentage of older adults living in poverty and the high percentage of LGBTQIA residents makes West Hollywood an ideal location to pilot this focused intervention. The 2019 West Hollywood Community Study previously identified the financial vulnerability of LGBT individuals, older adults, and community members living on fixed, low incomes. According to Community Study data, residents ages 55 and older make up 23 percent of the City’s population but represent 44 percent of the residents living in poverty. Overall, 22 percent of the City’s residents live on a fixed income, 14 percent live below the Federal Poverty level, and 27 percent of households have incomes of up to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Additionally, nearly 80 percent of West Hollywood residents are renters, and the cost of rent is higher in West Hollywood than many other areas and is not a fixed cost.

The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the challenges facing people living in poverty and created financial stress for countless others who have lost jobs/wages. Since March 16, 2020, the City of West Hollywood has provided more than $1.5 million dollars in rental assistance to West Hollywood residents that were unable to pay their rent due to COVID-related impacts.

The City will be engaging two nonprofit partners in the pilot. The first is the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at University of Pennsylvania as the research and evaluation partner responsible for creating and administering the research instruments, conducting the randomized selection of eligible applicants to participate in the pilot, collecting/processing/analyzing the data, and providing a report on the findings.

The City’s second partner in the pilot is the National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles (NCJW|LA) as the nonprofit administrator implementing the pilot. NCJW was selected for its knowledge, experience, and understanding of the nuances of guaranteed income. NCJW will be responsible for conducting outreach to the community about the pilot, assisting community members to complete applications, verifying that West Hollywood residency and other pilot criteria are met to ensure the eligibility of each applicant, submitting the completed and verified applications to CGIR for the randomized selection of participants, and notifying the participants selected by CGIR. They will also conduct onboarding and provide individualized benefits counseling for each participant, manage a storytelling cohort and storytelling activities that complement the research component of the pilot and provide the participants an opportunity to share their experiences in their own voices. In addition, the nonprofit administrator will subcontract and coordinate services with a nonprofit financial distributor (utilizing debit card services) to ensure that funds are distributed to participants in a timely, predictable, and seamless fashion.

More information about research and evaluation, as well as pilot partners and pilot funding is available in the December 2021 City Council item staff report available at: https://www.weho.org/home/showdocument?id=52050&t=637794969363854009

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Puckmeister1
Puckmeister1
5 months ago

Highly Discriminatory at any level. I worked 55 Years and at 70 applied for my SS Check! No one is offering me 1k a month. Why LGBTQ? Are they now incapable of earning a living? Employers are begging for good help and opportunities are endless. SO again, Why them? There are millions living onFAR Less than 10k a year. Just where is the logic in this?

JF1
JF1
7 months ago

Why only LGBTQ people…isn’t that discriminatory?

Last edited 7 months ago by JF1
greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
7 months ago
Reply to  JF1

Right in the article:

Focusing these efforts on LGBTQIA older adults living on a low income aligns with the City’s history, current demographics, and data indicating the vulnerability of this population. According to the Williams Institute at UCLA’s School of Law, LGBT older adults are financially less secure than their non-LGBT peers due to lifelong disparities and barriers to accessing programs that support aging adults; the national poverty rate for LGBT people is 21.6 percent as compared to 15.7 percent for cisgender non-LGBT people.”

Puckmeister1
Puckmeister1
5 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Focus on the resentment of the rest of the eligible people and fair thinking people will be directed where? Towards the recipient of this farce. The LGBT community as a whole. Not a well-thought-out plan. The implication is that this community can not function in society, apparently as there are Jobs everywhere. The idea that LGBT, as a whole, has fewer brains and work abilities is all that you wind up peddling, regardless of your best intentions.

WEHO ville
Editor
7 months ago

Everything written about Nika has come from a) her own website b) national news articles [Daily Beast, TIME, et al] c) what she has said at commission meetings. She has not replied for a request to tell her story personally. Her passions and public pursuits, already well-publicized, have been given generous coverage in WEHOville articles, and they’ve been written about in the simplest, most objective terms possible. Our readers are independent thinkers who don’t tolerate propaganda of any kind.

Huh?
Huh?
7 months ago
Reply to  WEHO ville

Brandon, come on. She has nothing to do with this West Hollywood UBI program even though she’s involved with West Hollywood and UBI on separate terms. I’m not accusing of making anything up about her. I’m accusing you and Larry of wanting her on the minds of your readers for whatever reasons you feel are important. You actively chose to insert her into this coverage. Larry’s defense that this was a press release is just not true. Additionally, it’s basic journalism to disclaim when a subject refuses comment on themselves. In none of your three or four Soon-Shiong stories do… Read more »

Larry Block
Admin
7 months ago
Reply to  Huh?

I can speak for myself that I have no idea of this story before it comes out and there is no plot. Brandon did reach out but thats another story.

vote them out
vote them out
7 months ago

There are many comments about the money for this handout being donated. I would contend that this donated money would have gone to worthy causes if it were not diverted to this free lottery for 25 lucky gay people.

Why should West Hollywood be the first city in the country to give away money like this? Is it the same reason that we have the highest minimum wage rate in the country? I think these overreaches are all about ambitious councilmembers plotting their next moves and seeking media attention, the public be damned!

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
7 months ago
Reply to  vote them out

Why should West Hollywood be the first city in the country to give away money like this?”

It’s not the first city. Did you even read the article?

https://www.mayorsforagi.org/

And who are you to say what a private donor should do with his/her money?

Michael Grace, you should really do more research next time. This is just embarrassing.

Geoffrey Buck
Geoffrey Buck
7 months ago

Thinking again, what about single mothers? Imagine raising children alone and you have to work. Why aren’t they also worthy to be included in a “universal basic income”? Besides this, how can we possibly pay for this?

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
7 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Buck

“Funding for the cash disbursement is provided by two external sources: (1) Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative Innovation Measure H funds; and (2) a private donor.”

JF1
JF1
7 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Why is money that is allocated for use by the homeless being given to those that are not?

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
7 months ago
Reply to  JF1

https://homeless.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/HI-Report-Approved2.pdf

https://homeless.lacounty.gov/measure-h-funded-contracts/

I guess you really didn’t research Measure H when voting a few years ago. All of the info is out there if you do a quick google search.

Long Time Resident (since before Cityhood)
Long Time Resident (since before Cityhood)
7 months ago

I’m sorry, but limiting this program to LGBT low-income residents is DISCRIMINATORY and I’m sick of this City catering to this segment of the population. I am on the fence about my sexuality, but still….

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
7 months ago

Funding for the cash disbursement is provided by two external sources: (1) Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative Innovation Measure H funds; and (2) a private donor.”



WehoQueen
WehoQueen
7 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

I’m guessing the “private donor” gave $3, and the rest came courtesy of the taxpayers, who are happy to take money away from something worthy, to handouts to the freeloaders who want to be rewarded for their bad life choices.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
7 months ago
Reply to  WehoQueen

“I’m guessing the “private donor” gave $3” This is conjecture and has no basis in reality.

You have to be a troll. No one is this ignorant.

Last edited 7 months ago by greeneyedguy
Rich Scott
Rich Scott
7 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Name calling, bullying. The usual tactic of anyone on the left.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
7 months ago
Reply to  Rich Scott

I don’t think you understand what bullying is.

john
john
7 months ago

Someone wrote, “Universal Basic Income is the future due to increasing automation, It’s inevitable”  You do know if the government controls your money supply, you do as they say, or no money. Don’t get the jab, no money for you. Try to stop Antifa from pulling down a statue, no money for you. Write something against BLM burning a building and looting, no money for you. Disagree with no bail laws, no money for you. But then again Dems love big government.

C.R.
C.R.
7 months ago
Reply to  john

Yeah mmmhmm, so when automation eliminates millions of jobs and people have no other option besides Universal Basic Income, what’s the alternative you are keeping from the rest of us? I’m sure it’s practical and totally realistic. Lay it on me, when you’re ready.

Larry Block
Admin
7 months ago

This is a city of west hollywood press release on a west hollywood council driven agenda item. There’s only reporting, not bias. WEHOville shares the city press releases, local events, or community profiles, along with op-eds by residents who write them. There is nothing biased in creating a community platform for the exchange of ideas on both sides. But we do deal with alot of cynics.

Huh?
Huh?
7 months ago
Reply to  Larry Block

I appreciate your taking the time to reply and I apologize for my delayed response. However, this site under your ownership regularly fails to clearly disclaim when press releases are press releases. You seem to believe that a “Contributor” byline is enough, but this reader is here to tell you that it ain’t. I couldn’t tell you the difference between Contributor or WEHO Ville bylines for that matter. Contrast that treatment with this article. It ain’t just a press release, given that Brandon took the byline. There is indeed an undeclared press release at the bottom (that you also clearly… Read more »

Geoffrey Buck
Geoffrey Buck
7 months ago

Ok. $425,000 for 25 people with “no strings attached.” Who will then determine if the “experiment” was a success. I imagine this job will cost another one hundred this and dollars and awarded to some friend. Also who will determine what random is. It is so easy to cheat. Just look at 2020.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
7 months ago

I saw this several months ago, and I think it’s a great idea. https://youtu.be/2NYb1vIMTEw This idea that someone who is poor only deserves conditional help is terrible. If someone is truly in need, we ought to help them, especially elderly people. People who are mentally ill just don’t “snap out of it”, and start working at Starbucks. They need help, not to be chastised. The problem comes in when these programs are paired with talk about the so called “prison industrial complex” and all kinds of other things. It’s a bad way of selling something simple that everyone should support… Read more »

vote them out
vote them out
7 months ago

This is just outright theft from hard-working taxpayers. Giving chosen people public money people for being gay or pretending to be gay is so sad.

Jimmy Palmieri
7 months ago
Reply to  vote them out

from what i understand, this money was donated.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
7 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy Palmieri

Yup. Private donor and Measure H funds (which majority of LA County voters approved)

There is no “theft”. So many ignorant and naive commenters on these threads.

Jimmy palmieri
Jimmy palmieri
7 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

It is truly sad that so many have made disparaging comments without reading the full article or understanding where the money came from. Im not sure if it’s ignorance, homophobia or just wanting to troll behind some nade up nsme.

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