Posted on 10/27/2021
Multiple people holding the Big Leap sign

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti today announced the launch of the application window for the Basic Income Guaranteed: L.A. Economic Assistance Pilot (BIG:LEAP) program, which will provide more than 3,200 households in Los Angeles with an unconditional $1,000 per month for one year. The program will begin accepting applications Friday, October 29 until the window closes on November 7.

“When Los Angeles puts its stamp on a transformational issue, we don’t follow — we lead, and we believe that BIG:LEAP will pay large dividends for health and stability across our city and light a fire across our nation,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This program is a small but steady investment in a simple concept: When you provide resources to families that are struggling, it can give them the breathing room to realize goals that many of us are fortunate enough to take for granted: put food on the table and cover childcare with less stress, keep their children’s focus on education and pursue new opportunities with fewer worries about the day-to-day needs of their household.”

In Mayor Garcetti’s budget for the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year, he proposed a $24-million guaranteed basic income project to be administered by the City’s Community Investment for Families Department (CIFD). Several members of the City Council have made additional investments that bring the total to $38 million for more than 3,200 families.

“It is unacceptable that one-third of working adults in Los Angeles are unable to support their families with full-time work alone,” said Council President Nury Martinez. “The City’s BIG:LEAP program will be a lifeline to families who wouldn’t be able to afford a $500 emergency if one were to occur. The launch of this program marks a milestone in our progress towards a more equitable city. ”

“We continue to make history as we push forward a progressive agenda that puts working families first,” said Councilmember Curren Price. “District 9 will be the epicenter of BIG:LEAP, because the times we are living in require real investment in the lives of real people.”

"Where programs like this have been introduced, we have seen a reduction in crime, increased school attendance, improved health outcomes, and a stronger sense of well-being,” said Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson. “This is how government should work, to reduce the strain on our social safety nets and trust that people who experience economic vulnerability are best equipped to make financial decisions for their families."

In all, 3,203 participants will be chosen at random by the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania. Participants will be invited to participate in the program and provide verification documentation in January 2022. The Mayor’s Office, City Council offices, and CIFD have worked closely with the Center to design the program and develop the research pilot, which will help grow the country's body of guaranteed basic income research and help shape future policy reform.

To qualify, applicants must reside in the City of Los Angeles; be 18 years of age or older; have at least one dependent child or be pregnant; have income at or below the federal poverty level; have experienced economic and/or medical hardship related to COVID-19.

The number of participants per Council District will be selected based on the percentage of residents living in poverty and will take into consideration additional funding the council district supplemented above the Justice Budget.

“$1,000 a month can dramatically change a family’s circumstance, helping them to meet basic
needs and eliminate the stress of living paycheck to paycheck,” said Abigail Marquez the General Manager of the Community Investment for Families Department. “The emotional burdens and financial challenges that emerged due to COVID have devastated Angelenos living below the poverty threshold, and will outlast the pandemic itself. BIG:LEAP will help secure the safety and stability of some of our most vulnerable families here in Los Angeles.”

BIG:LEAP is one of the many new programs included in Mayor Garcetti’s 2021-2022 Budget to help advance racial and economic justice across the City, including $33 million to expand the City’s Gang Reduction and Youth Development program; $18.7 million to fund new programs for the Mayor’s Therapeutic and Unarmed Response for Neighborhoods (TURN) approach to reimagining public safety; and L.A. Repair, a $12 million investment in participatory budgeting and support for racial healing, justice, and reconciliation work. The spending plan also contains the City’s largest-ever investment to confront the homelessness crisis at nearly $1 billion, which more than doubles its current spending.