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California’s $750 Monthly Aid to the Homeless: Proof that Universal Basic Income Makes a Difference in Spending Choices!

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Homeless people (Photo: Los Angeles Times)

Over 100 homeless people in Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area earned $750 per month for a year without strings.

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Homeless people (Photo: Los Angeles Times)

Positive Outcomes and Spending Patterns Dispel Misconceptions

A California study on a basic income and social support intervention found that recipients of a $750 monthly stipend were less likely to stay homeless and closer to achieving their basic requirements than a control group using traditional homeless services. Miracle Messages and USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work discovered that 36.6% of the stipend was spent on food, 20% on housing, 12.7% on transportation, 11.5% on clothing, 6.2% on healthcare, and 13.6% on unclassified expenses in the first six months. The findings undermine the idea that people will steal money.

Ben Henwood, director of the USC Center for Homelessness, Housing, and Health Equity Research, said only 2% of the $750 monthly stipend was spent on alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs, mostly cigarettes. The survey indicated that beneficiaries spent the money on bills, car maintenance, and groceries. Positive outcomes from the intervention included a drop in unsheltered people from 30% at the start of the experiment to under 12% at six months. The control group dropped from 28% to 23%.

After a year of data, study researchers will publish a follow-up.

READ ALSO: What happens now that Trump is disqualified from running for office in Colorado?

Positive Outcomes in Basic Income Initiatives Across the U.S.

Positive results in Los Angeles are part of a larger trend in basic income initiatives around the country. A year-long Durham, North Carolina, research found that formerly imprisoned persons who got a monthly stipend had higher employment and housing rates and never returned to jail.

Pilot programs in Denver, Colorado, and Stockton, California, found that monthly stipend recipients were more likely to find full-time jobs and housing. These findings show that direct financial support to the needy may be beneficial.

READ ALSO: New Yorkers leaving the city had median earnings of $49,000 as life in NYC becomes ever more of a financial pipe dream


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