Some Healdsburg families could see extra cash in their pockets later this year. Healdsburg will be the first city in Sonoma County to experiment with a universal basic income, or UBI, pilot program. The plan, approved Tuesday, June 21st, will provide 50 households within the city with up to 600 dollars in direct cash assistance each month for two years.
Malinalli Lopez, Healdsburg’s Community Outreach Coordinator, said the UBI program takes a different approach to public assistance.
"The intent of the program is to provide regular payments to residents that need financial assistance to cover the basic cost of living and establish a level of financial security." Lopez said. "The UBI program is based on the principle that families understand best what they need and know how to use their resources in a way that meets their needs."
The program, which Lopez estimated will cost between eight hundred thousand and eight hundred fifty thousand dollars, will be administered through Corazon Healdsburg, a local non-profit, using a mix of state and local grants, money from Corazon themselves, and a quarter million from the city.
Recipients for the pilot program though, will be chosen through a lottery and must meet certain criteria.
"They will need to reside in the city of Healdsburg, be 18 years or older, have at least one dependent child, have experienced economic and or a medical hardship related to COVID 19 and have income that falls at or below 200% of the federal poverty line." Lopez said.
Elsa Cavazos, former Equity Reporter at the Healdsburg Tribune spoke in favor of the program which she called an opportunity to be bold.
"It comes at no cost to other residents." Cavazos said. "The federal dollars that will be funding this program were allocated to help communities recover from COVID the challenges this program seeks to address do not just affect the Latinx community, but also other residents of all backgrounds who are struggling."
Healdsburg residents can expect outreach about the UBI program in coming months.