Proposed Palm Springs guaranteed income pilot program up for discussion next week

Transgender or nonbinary residents of the city would be eligible for a guaranteed income under a pilot programming being discussed at the next Palm Springs City Council meeting.

Under the proposal, the city would provide an initial $200,000 in financial support to help launch a guaranteed income pilot program run in partnership between DAP Health and Queer Works. Later phases of the project could require up to $1.2 million from the city.

Councilmember Christy Holstege requested that the proposal be placed on the agenda in February, with backing from Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner and Councilmember Geoff Kors. It will be discussed on March 24.

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According to materials submitted by Jacob Rostovsky, Founder and CEO of Queer Works, this initiative is part of a broader effort by Mayors for a Guaranteed Income. The request comes, in part, due to the state providing $35 million in funding for guaranteed income pilot programs over the next five years.

A guaranteed income program provides monthly cash payments to individuals to address the individual’s basic economic and social needs. Guaranteed income projects differ from other social safety net programs in that they provide the recipient choice in how to spend the funds.

The proposal submitted by Queer Works outlines three broad phases for the guaranteed income pilot: Application and design; Announcement and launch; and recruitment and onboarding. The $200,000 financial commitment from the city is intended to support the application and design phase. That phase is expected to take approximately six months and will include drafting and submitting a proposal for additional state funding, raising additional funds needed as cash match for the project, community engagement, and feedback and finalizing eligibility requirements.

City staff indicated any requested funds for the program could come from a surplus in the city budget as well as approximately $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding from the federal government expected to arrive next year.

In the meantime, the city is preparing to throw out the welcome mat to any transgender youth and their families affected by laws being passed in other states. California lawmakers said last week they will introduce legislation to make the state a safe haven for parents in other states who risk having their transgender children taken away or from being criminally prosecuted for supporting their children’s access to gender-affirming procedures and other health care.


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