LA to give $1,000 no-strings-attached monthly payments to families in new guaranteed-income program

Los Angeles City officials Wednesday announced details of a Guaranteed Basic Income pilot program that would invest nearly $40 million into families living in poverty.

The BIG:LEAP - Basic Income Guaranteed: Los Angeles Economic Assistance Pilot - program will give $1,000 in direct cash payments to 3,200 families each month for 12 months with no strings attached.  

"We are showing our national government a model of what we can do," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at a news conference Wednesday.  "A majority of Angelenos who live below the poverty line are Angelenos of color. We see Guaranteed Basic Income as a means of building a stronger social safety net and as an instrument of racial equality."

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To qualify applicants must live in the city of Los Angeles, have an income at or below the federal poverty level, have at least one dependent child or be pregnant, and have experienced hardship during the pandemic. City officials say there are no rules to how the money can be spent.  

"With a median income of $30,000 our community suffers immensely," said District 9 Councilmember Curren Price. 


More than a quarter of participants will be residents in Councilmember Price’s district which covers portions of Downtown and South Los Angeles, which have the highest percentage of people living in poverty. 

The 2021 federal poverty level (FPL) income numbers are shown below:

  • $17,420 for a family of 2
  • $21,960 for a family of 3
  • $26,500 for a family of 4
  • $31,040 for a family of 5
  • $35,580 for a family of 6
  • $40,120 for a family of 7
  • $44,660 for a family of 8

"Here is where more than 780 families will be turning the corner. We’re going to be mobilizing the community in a big way," said Price, who plans to open six hubs in his district to help his constituents apply for the program, including the Los Angeles Trade Tech College. The campus on 400 W. Washington Blvd. will offer access to computers, WiFi and language assistance. 

The 10-day application period begins on Oct 29. Qualifying residents will be selected at random and notified by the city. Residents can apply online at

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