Basic universal income has become a conversation that has gained steam again since the start of the COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, pandemic and the mass job layoffs followed. As a result, many people around the country have been severely impacted by the economic fallout from the virus. To curb to the effects of the public health crisis, Compton Mayor Aja Brown is creating a new program to guarantee a basic income for 800 residents in the community.
The Compton Pledge is a new pilot program the city is rolling out to help those that have lost their employment due to the COVID-19 crisis. The new initiative would provide free cash for two years with private donors contributing $2.5 million to fund the project.
“I recognized that there’s a need for additional income, especially with the pandemic resulting in record-high numbers of unemployment throughout the entire country,” the mayor said to the Los Angeles Times. “This is a great opportunity to address inequalities for Black and brown people and also additional opportunities for upward mobility.”
The program will be targeting the city’s most vulnerable populations, specifically the Black and Latinx community in addition to formerly incarcerated residents. Brown follows Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs who created a similar cash program back in June of this year. She joined Tubbs in establishing the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income to launch the pilot programs in more cities around the country.