Marin, Oakland Launch Basic Income for Parents of Color

The Universal Basic Income experiment is revving up across California and it's increasingly targeting non-white communities.

Supervisors in Marin County approved a $400,000 partnership with the Marin Community Foundation last week to provide $1,000 per month to 125 low-income women of color for the next two years. Eligible recipients must have a child under 18, earn less than a certain amount per year, and live in one of four areas of Marin County: the Latino Canal area of San Rafael, Marin City, Novato, or West Marin.

The City of Oakland also launched a Basic Income program for people of color last week. The "Oakland Resilient Families" program is privately funded, in large part through the Blue Meridian Partners philanthropy group. Participants must have a child under 18 and an annual income at or below 50% of the area median income.

Stockton, California was the first major city to experiment with Universal Basic Income in 2019. Despite the predictions of naysayers, an analysis from NPR shows the program had some major successes.

Oakland and Marin’s programs differ in some key ways, most notably because they exclude white participants. That has raised legal questions and criticisms. But for Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, this is about leveling the playing field.

"We have a well-documented racial wealth gap in this country, 10 times asset poverty. We have, in Oakland, documented three times a difference in median incomes between our white families and our Black families,” Schaaf told Yahoo Finance. “As a piece of this policy development, we believe that we can contribute to the question of how to close the racial wealth gap, as well as designing a program that's going to work for the families that are facing the most barriers.”

Marin and Oakland aren’t the first localities to target parents or people of color for UBI. As City News reported last year, San Francisco has partnered with a group called Expecting Justice on a UBI program specifically for Black and Pacific Islander women who are pregnant.