Groups working on pilot program application hoping to combat misconceptions

Non-profits DAP Health and Queer Works are hoping to clear up what they say is misinformation surrounding a proposed guaranteed income pilot 

What’s driving the news: In March, the City Council approved $200,000 to the two non-profits to help them research and prepare an application to the state for a guaranteed income pilot that would provide up to $900 a month to benefit extremely low-income individuals, with a priority on helping transgender and non-binary people.

Right-wing backlash: The story got picked up by national news outlets, including Fox News and The Blaze. Fox host Tucker Carlson even featured the story in one of his segments, setting off days of threats to the City Council and non-profit leaders.

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The misinformation: Most of the right-wing news sources incorrectly claimed:

  • The City was giving the $200,000 to transgender and non-binary people. 

  • The money was only going to transgender and non-binary people.

The Facts: 

  • The $200,000 is not going directly to trans and non-binary people. It will be in the form of reimbursements to the organizations.

  • The reimbursements will be for expenses incurred as the organizations research and design a plan as part of the application process to be part of a state program. The money from the city is strictly limited to research and planning. 

  • If and when their application for the state program is approved, the money received through it will be going to extremely low-income people regardless of demographic. 

What they’re saying: “On day one we definitely wanted to investigate the possibility of prioritizing people who are transgender and non-binary,” said Jacob Rostovsky, CEO of Queer Works. “It’s a population we work with daily and we know that so many are seriously challenged financially. …But we hadn’t started our research yet. What we’ve learned since then is that successful guaranteed income pilots are open to applicants of all demographic backgrounds. …And, importantly, that approach will include transgender and non-binary people, too.”

What research says: Supporters of guaranteed basic income say the unconditional money does more to help people in need, and they point to the city of Stockton’s pilot program as evidence of that.

Next steps: The two non-profits say they’ve made progress in the research and design of the program and they are now preparing a funding application to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) which will be sent within the next several months.

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