San Mateo County supervisors have approved the launch next year of a guaranteed income pilot program that will provide 70 current and former foster youth with monthly stipends.
The program will provide $1,000 monthly stipends for up to 18 months, starting around the new year. It aims to provide economic support to current and former foster youth ages 18 to 22.
Foster youth remain vulnerable to housing instability and homelessness as they age out of the system, San Mateo County supervisor Noelia Corzo said in a statement.
“Concrete economic support allows for some relief from the economic pressures that might otherwise push them out of San Mateo County and away from their support systems and friends,” she said.
The county anticipates that the money will allow transitional-age foster youth to better use services already available to them, such as educational and financial counselors and employment services. That support is necessary for youth without families to guide them through the complexities of housing, school and work, according to the county.
“Concrete economic support allows for some relief from the economic pressures that might otherwise push them out of San Mateo County and away from their support systems and friends.”Supervisor Noelia Corzo
In the 2020-21 school year there were more than 150 foster youth in San Mateo County, according to the California Department of Education.
The $2 million program will be funded by San Mateo County’s Human Services Agency, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and local Measure K funds, which come from a half-cent sales tax in the county.
The program is new to San Mateo County but not to the Bay. Santa Clara County started its guaranteed income program for foster youth in 2020, which gave $1,000 monthly stipends to foster youth transitioning into adult life.
Guaranteed income programs generally alleviate poverty and improve health and educational outcomes, according to a 2020 report from the Stanford Basic Income Lab. In Stockton, which piloted the state’s first guaranteed income program in 2019, participants spent the money on basic life needs like food (nearly 37 percent), sales and merchandise (21 percent) and utilities (11 percent), and got full-time employment at twice the rate of those who were not in the program.