The mayor of Compton announced Monday that the California city will be giving recurring cash payments to hundreds of its low-income residents starting later this year.
The pilot program, called the Compton Pledge, guarantees cash payments between $300 and $600 to a group of 800 “pre-verified” residents each month for two years and access to free banking services. The money is available for “irregularly or informally employed residents, immigrants of varied legal status, and the formerly incarcerated,” according to a statement from Mayor Aja Brown.
“I know firsthand what guaranteed income could have done for my mother,” Brown said. “People in our community are going through tough times, and I know that guaranteed income could give people a moment to navigate their situation and have some breathing room to go back to school, explore a new career path, spend time with their children, or improve their mental and emotional wellbeing.”
More than 20% of Compton’s 95,000 residents, who are predominantly Black and Hispanic, live in poverty, double the national average. Unemployment has risen to 21.9% since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the program. The initiative is designed “to challenge the racial and economic injustice plaguing both welfare programs and economic systems.”
Officials said the program’s effectiveness will be evaluated every six months.