On October 21, the mayor of Compton, California, Aja Brown announced the launch of the city’s Compton Pledge program which guarantees monthly income payments to 800 residents.
Program participants will begin receiving payments later this year and have been “pre-verified”as low income, according to a statement made by the mayor.
Mayor Brown said the program aims to “challenge racial and economic injustice plaguing both welfare programs and economic systems.”
The Compton Pledge includes an online platform that will allow residents to receive their monthly payments via direct deposit, electronic transfers, and prepaid debit cards. The program also provides online banking and access to financial, legal and counseling services to residents.
In the context of the pandemic, Mayor Brown stated that “guaranteed income could give people a moment to navigate their situation, and have some breathing room to go back to school, explore a new career path, spend time with their children, or improve their mental and emotional wellbeing.”
A 21.9% increase in the city’s unemployment rate is attributed to the coronavirus pandemic, as reported by the program’s website. The program has already received over $2.5 million in private monetary and in-kind donations which will be directed to the Fund for Guaranteed Income, the registered public charity that partners with Mayor Brown, the Jain Family Institute and other organizations to deliver cash payments to residents in the program.
California has other guaranteed income programs including the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEEDS) program started by Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs in 2019.
Mayor Brown and the program have received praise from activists, including Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, who stated in the same press release “Guaranteed income is an urgent and necessary strategy for addressing the economic realities of racial injustice. I’m thrilled Mayor Brown and Compton are leading the way in this growing national movement.”
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