Fresno EOC announces universal basic income pilot program

Residents who live in some of the poorest parts of the Fresno area who have a below average income can apply for the program in a couple weeks.

Universal basic income is coming to Fresno this year. 

The Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission announced on Thursday that it will start the guaranteed income program for a small number of residents in southwest Fresno. 


The big picture: Families who qualify for the program in southwest Fresno and Huron will receive $500 monthly for one year. 

  • The Fresno EOC is operating the $1 million pilot program for 150 families that qualify. 
  • Organizations including the California Wellness Foundation, the Central Valley Community Foundation and Mayors for a Guaranteed Income are funding the program. 
  • To qualify, families must include an adult that is pregnant or have children aged zero to five while living in zip codes 93706 or 93234. 
  • Families also must have an annual income no more than 80 percent of the area median income – $30,615 for 93706 and $35,103 for 93234. 
  • The application period opens on March 15 and will run to May 15 on the Fresno EOC’s website. 
  • The Fresno EOC will select families through a lottery system. 

The backstory: Universal basic income has long been a controversial idea, although it gained prominence through former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs. 

  • During his tenure as mayor from 2017-2021, Tubbs backed a universal basic income program for 125 Stockton residents, providing them with $500 per month for two years. 
  • Tubbs was praised by the national media for championing universal basic income, but he was ousted by Stockton voters by nearly 13 points in the 2020 election in favor of Republican Kevin Lincoln. 

What they’re saying: Former Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, the CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation, said in a press release that it is exciting to see guaranteed income pilot projects grow in the Valley. 

  • “Former Mayor Michael Tubbs spearheaded this program in Stockton and witnessed great results,” Swearengin said. “Now, some Fresno County residents will have the opportunity to see its impact and determine how more families can benefit across the Valley.”
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