Residents in Certain Santa Monica Neighborhoods Eligible for LA County Guaranteed Income Program

Residents in Downtown and Pico neighborhoods eligible for $1,000 a month program

By Sam Catanzaro

Residents of two Santa Monica neighborhoods are eligible to apply for LA County’s new $1,000 a month guaranteed income program.

The program, called “Breathe”, launched on March 31 and will award 1,000 randomly selected qualifying residents $1,000 a month for three years.

“The course of this pandemic has revealed the large number of County residents who are living on the brink of financial crisis, with insufficient savings to weather a job loss, a medical emergency, or a major car repair. This guaranteed income program will help give residents the breathing room they need to better weather those crises,” said program co-author Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

The enrollment period opened on March 31 and the deadline for applications is April 13. Selection will not depend on the timing of entries. The program is being overseen by the County’s Poverty Alleviation Initiative, launched last year to address poverty and income instability among LA County residents.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and with a household income that falls at or below LA County’s average median income (AMI) of $56,000 for a single-person household or 120 percent of AMI at or below $96,000 for a family of four, for example. They must also have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, applicants are required to live within what LA County deems a low-income community. In Santa Monica, two neighborhoods fall under this category: Pico and Downtown. Pico’s Boundaries are Lincoln Bolevard to the west, Centinela Avenue to the east, Olympic Boulevard to the north and Pico Boulevard to the south. Downtown contains Wilshire Boulevard, Arizona Avenue, Santa Monica Boulevard, Broadway, and Colorado Avenue from Ocean Avenue to Lincoln Boulevard.

A total of 1,000 participants who apply during the open enrollment period will be randomly selected by a research team from the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Guaranteed Income Research, which is partnering with the County to design and implement the program. Direct monthly payments will be distributed via a debit card to selected residents and will come without strings or conditions.

After participants are selected, another 1,200 applicants will be randomly chosen to participate in the research study only, as part of a control group. Control group participants will not receive the monthly payment. They will complete periodic surveys and interviews about their well-being so that information can be compared to the treatment group and help determine whether or not the program was effective.

To learn more about the program, visit

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