SF to consider universal basic income program

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A universal basic income could be coming to San Francisco.

The Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday on a proposal to create a guaranteed income pilot program.

The plan, put forth by Supervisor Matt Haney, would create a nine-member advisory panel with experts in economics and social services and people who have experienced poverty themselves. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the group would have a year to study options to create a pilot program for San Francisco and come up with a plan.

Supporters of the program say it could help provide much-needed economic mobility and help to lift people out of poverty, especially with the economic impacts of the pandemic expected to be long-reaching.

Support for universal basic income has picked up in recent years. Stockton launched one of the first UBI programs in the country in 2019, giving $500 a month to 125 residents in a pilot program to track the impact of such a policy.

While the pilot was supposed to end over the summer, it was extended due to the pandemic. Early data shows recipients largely spent the money on necessity such as food and bills.

Santa Clara County has also launched a UBI program over the summer, providing 72 former foster youths with $1,000 a month.

San Francisco currently runs a program called Abundant Birth Project, which provides no-strings attached funding to disadvantaged expectant mothers, which launched in September.