News and Analysis

U.S. City Approves Funding For Potential Pilot Program To Give UBI To ‘Transgender’ And ‘Non-Binary’ People
PALM SPRINGS, CA - MARCH 7: The street pedestrian crossing is painted in rainbow colors as viewed on March 7, 2022 in Palm Springs, California. Palm Springs is a city of nearly 50,000 that has become an important tourist destination for the LGBTQ community as well as a relaxed environment for older retirees. This desert resort city is located 2 hours east of Los Angeles in Riverside County within the Colorado Desert's Coachella Valley.
George Rose/Getty Images

A city in California has reportedly approved $200,000 in funding for “initial research and program design of a guaranteed income pilot program” proposed by DAP Health and Queer Works that would look to “provide direct financial assistance to marginalized local individuals in need for a likely period of 18 months,” according to a press release from the two organizations.

The proposed program would look like a UBI, or Universal Basic Income, in that the recipients wouldn’t necessarily be restricted regarding how they spend the money.

“The initial financial support from the City of Palm Springs will enable the two organizations to study best practices of successful initiatives nationwide, conduct local research, and gain local input to inform their design process,” according to the press release from DAP Health and Queer Works.

The program would roll out in three phases, according to the a report from the Palm Springs city council:

This proposal identifies transgender or nonbinary individuals living in Palm Springs as the targeted recipients of the pilot program. Transgender and nonbinary individuals are identified as particularly vulnerable to unemployment, homelessness, assault, and discrimination.

The proposal submitted by Queer Works outlines three broad phases for the guaranteed income pilot: 1) application and design, 2) announcement and launch; and 3) recruitment and onboarding. The $200,000 financial commitment is intended to support the application and design phase. This phase is expected to take approximately six months and will include drafting and submitting a proposal for additional state funding, raising additional funds needed as cash match for the project, community engagement and feedback and finalizing eligibility requirements.


Funds requested from the City are intended to support hiring two staff members, materials and supplies, costs associated with an Advisory Council and other incentives.

Fox News wrote that “Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican who served as the first openly gay member of the city council,” slammed the proposed program as “woke” in a statement.

“We’re completely opposed to guaranteed or universal basic income programs, because they ultimately cause inflation and raise the cost of living on everyone — they don’t work,” DeMaio said. “But at least some of them have minimum income requirements to qualify, whereas this one is no-strings-attached ‘woke’ virtue signaling to the LGBT community in a way that is not only offensive but discriminatory.”

“The [Palm Springs] pilot program is part of broader trend of cities — like Stockton, Los Angeles and San Francisco — providing supplemental income to at-risk residents,” NBC Los Angeles reported. “The application period for Los Angeles County’s guaranteed income program began last week. The program will give 1,000 county residents $1,000 per month for three years.”

Editor’s note: This article has been revised to clarify the scope of the proposal, as well as the fact that it’s in a very early stage of development.


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