San Francisco plans on paying 130 local artists $1,000 per month starting in May, following neighboring Oakland’s universal basic income experiments.
“From the first day the pandemic arrived in San Francisco, we knew that this health crisis would impact artists, and artists of color in particular,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “Our artists make San Francisco special, and bring so much life and energy to our city. The arts are critical to our local economy and are an essential part of our long-term recovery. If we help the arts recover, the arts will help San Francisco recover.”
“This program is one of several guaranteed income pilots that we’re developing in San Francisco,” said Breed to the San Francisco Chronicle
California Republican John Cox said the following in response to this program:
Breed announced that the city was using a $25 million budget surplus to preserving the arts and would also be giving $12 million in grants to local arts organizations.
According to the city, the definition of an artist is someone who “actively engages with the community through music, dance, creative writing, visual art, performance art, installation, photography, theater, or film.” Being an artist “whose artistic practice is rooted in a historically marginalized community,” also is mandatory.
Single-person applicants must earn less than $60,900. Applicants from a two-person household must earn no more than a combined $69,600. The income thresholds come from researching other universal basic income programs across the country.
“At the end of the day, we want everyone in San Francisco to live healthy, happy and fulfilling lives, without worrying about how they’ll pay rent or get food on the table,” Breed said. “I’m committed to making San Francisco a more equitable, just and thriving city, and we’re exploring this guaranteed income model to see if it can help us advance those goals.”