Sacramento expands basic income program with additional City contribution

City Council on Tuesday allocated additional funding that will give 80 people in Sacramento a helping hand as part of the guaranteed basic income program being run in partnership with United Way.

Called the Direct Investment Program, or DIPS, the United Way’s effort is modeled after other universal basic income programs around the country.

The City of Sacramento’s total allocation in federal American Rescue Plan dollars is $750,000, which will provide $500 of unconditional income each month for one year. This will expand the current program already being run by United Way, which provides 100 households in Sacramento County with $300 per month for 24 months. To be part of the Sacramento program, participants must reside in the City of Sacramento and make less than 150% of the California Poverty Measure for their household size.

“We know that other basic income programs have been very successful in improving the financial stability of households currently living on economic margins,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “We are putting dollars directly into the hands of our residents and empowering them to decide how best to use it.”

Basic income programs are part of a larger nationwide trend to connect households with resources that help them find financial stability. Beneficiaries in the United Way’s county-wide program have said in surveys that the extra income has helped them pay down utilities, make a dent in their college loans, pay for diapers and put a little extra food on the table.

One respondent to the United Way survey wrote, ”(The basic income was for) …the benefit of my children because I was able to pay the light bill, I was able to buy more food for them, and in some instance(s) I was able to get them some shoes or some extra clothes it really benefited us all.”

The funding to expand the existing Sacramento program was part of Mayor Steinberg’s framework that city council adopted when the ARP dollars were first made available to the city.

“We are excited to partner with the City of Sacramento to expand our program to more community members,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, President and CEO of United Way California Capital Region. “The City of Sacramento is making the choice to address poverty directly by giving community members the money they need to meet their basic needs.”

The City of Sacramento’s Office of Arts + Culture is working on a similar basic income program specifically for artists in the Sacramento area. The idea behind that program is to provide a baseline so a second or third job is not necessary and they can focus on their artistic practice.

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