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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / El Monte guaranteed income program shows promising results

El Monte guaranteed income program shows promising results

by Staff
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The City of El Monte on Monday has released the latest evaluation study of its guaranteed income program. The pilot program, a collaborative effort between the city and RAND Corporation, with support from USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, has shown promising results in enhancing the well-being of 125 participants.

Launched in April 2023, the program aimed to provide $500 in assistance to selected residents to mitigate the economic strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and enhance their overall quality of life. The program attracted over 2,500 applications, with 125 individuals selected to participate in the pilot program. Eligible participants were female heads of household (no spouse present) with children under 18 years of age, experiencing economic strain due to COVID-19, El Monte residents, and with a verified household income at or below the poverty level based on U.S. Department of Commerce thresholds.

The impact evaluation study, led by the RAND Corporation and USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, focused on a range of outcomes, including economic security, housing stability, health, and self-efficacy. Preliminary findings from surveys and focus groups indicate significant improvements in participants’ lives. 

The pre-intervention survey revealed a diverse participant age range, with a notable percentage of young adults, among participants. A majority of participants identified as Latinx or Hispanic and many reported depressive symptoms, feeling nervous or stressed most of the time, and debt influencing their life a great deal.

Preliminary findings of the impact of the guaranteed income program found reduced depressive symptoms, stress, anxiety, and economic strain; and improved housing stability. Participants also reported spending the funds on basic needs: food, rent, gas, and school supplies.

“The findings from the study are in line with results that we have seen from similar guaranteed income programs across the country and internationally. Through direct financial assistance, we are able to see tangible and positive outcomes that contribute to the improved overall well-being of women and children who were hit the hardest during the pandemic,” shared Dr. Emma Aguila, associate professor at the Sol Price School of Public Policy and adjunct senior economist at the Rand Corporation.

“The City of El Monte is steadfast in our commitment to supporting our residents through innovative initiatives like the guaranteed income pilot program. The program’s early success underscores the potential of guaranteed income as a tool for social and economic empowerment in our community,” said City Manager Alma Martinez.

In July 2023, the participants received their first monthly cash transfer of $500, and the final cash transfer is scheduled for May 31, 2024. As the program progresses, participants will be offered financial literacy workshops, and a follow-up survey will be conducted to further assess the long-term impact.

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