SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Some San Diegans could soon be receiving $500 cash payments as part of what is being called the region’s first guaranteed income program.
The nonprofit group San Diego for Every Child is hoping to launch the program in early 2022, with the focus on residents living in select parts of San Diego, National City, and San Ysidro.
Officials with the nonprofit stated the program will choose 150 low-income families of color that have at least one child under age 12 and live in ZIP codes “that have been most economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The ZIP codes are:
- 92114 (Encanto, San Diego)
- 92139 (Paradise Hills, San Diego)
- 91950 (National City)
- 92173 (San Ysidro)
Once eligibility is confirmed, families will receive a direct monthly cash payment. San Diego for Every Child said the money is “unconditional, with no strings attached, and no work requirements.”
Officials added: “Participants will receive $500 cash payments for 24 months that can be spent on whatever they need most, such as food, repairing a car to get to work, medicine to treat a loved one or rent.”
Funding for the program is through fundraising, but $1.4 million from California’s annual budget is being allocated to help with the project’s launch.
National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis is one of dozens of mayors nationally who are in support of the concept. She said it would have been a game-changer for her family during her childhood.
"I am the mayor with the glasses. Very proud," Sotelo-Solis said.
But do you know the story behind her glasses? It all begins with a nursery rhyme we all know.
"You know the song, 'Twinkle twinkle little star… like a diamond in the sky...' I didn't really understand that song," Sotelo-Solis said.
As the oldest of five children raised by a single mom, she knew money was tight. But she did not know how to tell mom she could not see.
"Things are expensive. That was always on the back burner," Sotelo-Solis said.
In junior high, she finally got an eye exam, and it changed her life.
"I never knew that when you look up in the sky, it's not a white blob. It really is a diamond," Sotelo-Solis said.
Sotelo-Solis believes this extra $500 can allow for more families to see what could be, both literally and figuratively, without having to make a choice.
The deadline to register for program consideration is Dec. 6; those interested will have to complete a survey as the first step in the registration process. All program information, including the survey, can be found at https://www.sandiegoforeverychild.org/guaranteed-income.
San Diego for Every Child, which is operated under the Jewish Family Service of San Diego, stated the following on the goals of the Guaranteed Income Project:
“Beyond helping our community, we hope to learn about what a guaranteed income project could look like in our region, and how the impact of a local program may inform government policy and programs in the future.”