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Palm Springs Testing Guaranteed Income Program for Transgender and Non-Binary Residents

The program is one of several in California offering specific groups of people with subsidized income

Last month, the City Council of Palm Springs voted unanimously to allocate $200,000 to develop a guaranteed income pilot program for transgender and nonbinary residents in the California city.

On March 24, the city council agreed to pay DAP Health and Queer Works to design the program and apply for state funding — part of three phases outlined in a city report to bring the proposed project to fruition. 

California has already made a statewide commitment to provide $35 million in funding for guaranteed income pilot programs. The state’s plan targets pregnant women and young adults aged out of foster care. 

Like other guaranteed income programs, the Palm Springs pilot program would provide direct cash payments to individuals to spend as they see fit. It is set apart from some financial assistance programs that come with work requirements or define how the financial assistance can be used.

The program would provide monthly payments of $600 to $900 to twenty participants who identify as transgender or nonbinary. 

According to the LA Times, Council Member Christy Holstege said she was “incredibly proud” of the city for coming down on “the right side of history and supporting our trans and nonbinary, gender-nonconforming community.”

Queer Works Chief Executive Jacob Rostovsky said, “This is a chance to help individuals … to subsidize the gap in income that the trans and nonbinary community faces due to having some of the highest levels of unemployment in this country. So, when you raise them up to the average level, they achieve a lot more.”

However, Mayor Lisa Middleton, who is transgender, expressed doubt in the program’s long-term viability.

“My serious concern is the ability of these guaranteed income programs to scale up to the magnitude of the issues that are before us,” she said, citing more than 400,000 people reside below the poverty line in Riverside county.

Despite her concerns, Middleton voted in favor of the proposed program. 

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