A PILOT PROGRAM to provide guaranteed basic income to 100 Santa Clara County residents who have been incarcerated or were otherwise under supervision by the justice system took another step forward as the county Board of Supervisors was updated on a potential budget and planning process.
The program will provide $1,200 a month for two years, if approved. It is one of four guaranteed basic income initiatives being tested by Santa Clara County, most of which are in the planning phase.
Supervisors also approved a separate pilot program to train formerly incarcerated or otherwise justice-involved people to work in food service by setting up a cafeteria at the Civic Center.
Ky Le, a deputy county executive who gave the presentation Aug. 15, told the board that the guaranteed basic income program would cost $4 million. Supervisors allocated $2 million from the county’s American Rescue Plan Act funds, which will be supplemented by $1 million each from the state and non-profit organization Destination: Home.
“By providing a guaranteed basic income, we offer stability to people so they can lead productive lives and reduce the likelihood of going back to jail.”Supervisor Cindy Chavez, Santa Clara County
“Investing $4 million in the Guaranteed Basic Income program allows the participants to choose how to handle the challenges they face,” said Supervisor Cindy Chavez. “By providing a guaranteed basic income, we offer stability to people so they can lead productive lives and reduce the likelihood of going back to jail.”
The goal is to have the program running by January, but that will require outreach to stakeholders to people who would utilize the program, people who could have utilized such a program, and law enforcement.
Several advocates with community advocacy organization Silicon Valley De-Bug spoke in favor of the program, but they stressed the need for involvement by those who could guide the program best.
“In order for guaranteed basic income to actually work, folks that have been impacted directly, system-impacted, formerly incarcerated, are there every step of the way in this process so that it can be successful,” said Jose Valle, a columnist for the organization.
A survey is being planned and is expected to be completed by the end of August.
More youth-centered programs underway
A pilot basic guaranteed income program for former foster youth is already underway and will launch its second group of participants this month, Le said.
Another program, scheduled to start in summer 2024, will target payments for young moms. Another, for unhoused high school seniors, is expected to launch in summer 2025.
Nonprofit organization Rebekah Children’s Services will partner with the county to run the pilot cafeteria program at the Civic Center for a period of 18 months. The nearly $1 million program will offer training and paid experience to justice-involved people seeking to gain employment in the food service industry.
The program will likely be limited to coffee and pastries in the morning, before expanding for lunch and potential catering services during downtime.