May 11th, 2023 – South San Francisco, CA – City of South San Francisco Press Release
Data shows participants spent the Guaranteed Income Pilot Program money primarily on groceries, rent, utilities, and other basic needs
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., May 11, 2023 – In October 2021, the City of South San Francisco Guaranteed Income Pilot Program (GIPP) launched, providing $500 per month to 160 South San Francisco residents over 12 months. This was one of the nation’s first programs to test the impact of giving unrestricted funds to extremely low-income residents.
“The South San Francisco GIPP was launched in response to unprecedented economic turmoil from the pandemic faced by residents. Our City Council felt this was an important step to helping our residents with a critical, timely, and effective safety net,” said South San Francisco Mayor Flor Nicolas.
Through the GIPP, the City of South San Francisco dedicated some of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to individuals who needed additional support to build resiliency during significant change. The YMCA Community Resource Center in South San Francisco administered the GIPP. It was responsible for program implementation, including marketing to prospective participants, review and assessment of applications, selection of the 160 participants, data collection, and case management. All 160 spots in the pilot program were filled by applicants earning below 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). For a single individual, that threshold is a maximum income of $38,400 for an individual or $54,800 for a family of four. “There were no conditions to receiving GIPP funds after being invited to the program,” added Mayor Nicolas.
The YMCA surveyed participants throughout the entire program year every quarter. The first payments were disbursed in November 2021, and the last payments were received in October 2022.
Among the 160 participants:
49% were single heads of household with minor children in the home,
39% were residents of South San Francisco’s lowest-income census tracts,
4.4% were formerly youth in foster care,
82% did not have $400 or more in savings for an emergency.
Others who benefited from participating in the program included 275 children, 24 senior citizens, and 287 other family members in the household over age 18. “With this help, we have been able to pay rent fully and for dental services for my daughter,” said one of the program participants.
The main areas this program’s funds have been used include:
Food – 82%
Rent – 87%
Utilities – 57%
Clothing – 21%
Transportation – 8%
Education – 5%
Insurance – 3%
Medical costs – 2%
“For most people, the primary use of these funds was to buy food and pay for rent, which is exactly what this program was intended for – to help those in most need with money to help them survive and afford basic amenities,” said South San Francisco Vice Mayor Mark Nagales, who is the Councilmember that championed this program from its inception. In addition, participating in this program has helped program participants become more self-sufficient. “I have learned a lot about using a bank account and a debit card,” said one program participant. Participants indicated that the most significant self-sufficiency gains were in health care coverage, community involvement, mental health, and housing.
For many, this experience changed their lives. “I wasn’t so, so stressed; I was less overwhelmed. I could catch my breath. It set me up to pay off debts and be able to move forward,” said another program participant. Many individuals who participated in this pilot were able to secure childcare, enroll in school, pay off a car loan, secure reliable transportation, obtain vision care and new classes for a child, cover dental costs, provided counseling to a child with mental health challenges, or managed to save some of the funds for an emergency.
“I couldn’t be happier with how this program turned out and how it helped some of our lowest-income South San Francisco residents get back on their feet after feeling the devastating effect of the global pandemic,” added Vice Mayor Nagales.
About the City of South San Francisco
The City of South San Francisco proudly remains The Industrial City, a reflection of its steel mill and shipbuilding past, redefined to reflect the innovative, entrepreneurial, and industrious spirit which has made South San Francisco the Biotech Capital of the World, with over 250 active biotech companies and growing. A vibrant community of 67,587 residents, South San Francisco enjoys a high quality of life with an extensive public parks system, active library, and learning programming, and a dynamic, engaged community making South San Francisco a great place to live, learn, work, and play. For more information about the City of South San Francisco, visit www.ssf.net.