Lottery Program To Provide Free Money for Low-Income Residents – But Poor Whites May Not Apply
The Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaaf announced a privately funded assistance lottery program to provide low-income families of color $500 per month to spend however they want on Tuesday.
The California city’s program is the first-of-its kind to limit participation in a basic income program to strictly “black, indigenous, and people of color communities.” Undocumented families (of color) and the homeless are also encouraged to apply. Those that receive the money will be selected at random.
It’s being called Oakland Resilient Families Program and so far, it has raised $6.75 million from private donors. The money will initially go to 600 families.
To be eligible, participants must have one child under the age of 18 and income at or below 50% of the area median income – roughly $59,000 per year for a family of three.
The city hopes a similar program can be done on a national level.
“We have designed this demonstration project to add the body of evidence, and to begin this relentless campaign to adopt a guaranteed income federally,” said Schaaf to the Associated Press.
Oakland is preventing whites from applying because it says white households in Oakland make three times as much money as black households. It’s also seen as a way to pay tribute to the Black Panther Party, a political movement founded in Oakland in the 1960s.
“Guaranteed income has been a goal of the Black Panther platform since its founding, ” Jesus Gerena, CEO of Family Independence Initiative which is partnering with the Oakland Resilient Families Program told the AP.
Meanwhile, nearby in Marin County, the Marin County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to participate in a two year guaranteed income project of its own. However, in Marin, all low income groups are being included.