On November 16, Mayor London N. Breed of San Francisco has initiated a new program that will provide a guaranteed income to transgender individuals living in the area.
The Guaranteed Income for Transgender People (GIFT) program provides $1,200 monthly stipend, healthcare, and financial coaching to 55 eligible residents. Applications are now being accepted until December. The program is administered by the Transgender District, a group whose goal is to assist trans people in achieving financial stability and independence.
Aria Sa’id, president of the Transgender District, stated that they want to provide low-income trans people with the necessary resources to address their most pressing financial needs based on their individual circumstances, since trans people in California experience poverty at a much higher rate than other members of the state’s population, said by the proponents of the program.
The announcement about the GIFT uncovered that one-third of transgender Californians were experiencing hardship, according to the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey. The 2020 census records the state’s overall poverty rate to be slightly more than 12%.
Pau Crego, executive director of the San Francisco Office of Transgender Initiatives, said in a report that despite San Francisco’s reputation as a city with a strong commitment to supporting the trans community, trans residents of the city still face poverty at much higher rates compared to the overall population.
According to L.A. Times, Sa’id said that the response to the program has been divided, with the organization receiving 3,200 messages in recent days, including some hateful messages.
In addition to the polarizing response, the program has also received messages from trans activists in other parts of the country who are interested in implementing similar programs in their own communities. According to Sa’id, the program has received around 2,000 applications since Nov. 16.