A coalition of community partners today launched the Silicon Valley Guaranteed Income Project, a two-year project that will give 150 Santa Clara County families who are experiencing homelessness or unstable housing $1,000 per month in no-strings-attached cash assistance for 24 months.
The $3.6 million program is designed “to help participants achieve housing stability as well as greater independence over their lives, finances and future,” according to the announcement.
“This unconditional support is meant to provide families with the flexibility to decide how best to meet their needs,” the coalition said in a statement.
The guaranteed income project focuses on families experiencing homelessness, an approach that the coalition said “will enable us to help key populations including people of color, undocumented and mixed status families, and women-led households.”
The project is being spearheaded by Destination: Home and the ¡Sí Se Puede! Collective, in partnership with the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, Sacred Heart Community Service, the Santa Clara County Office of Supportive Housing and UpTogether.
One of the leading partners in this project is the ¡Sí Se Puede! Collective, which envisions a rooted and thriving community “where resilient families have confidence in their gifts, choices and dreams.”
“Through this project we can support families vulnerable to homelessness by giving them cash with no conditions,” said Gabriel Hernandez, director of the Si Se Puede Collective. “With their participation, in 2 years, we hope to see how guaranteed income benefits families and advocate for more programs to support more families.”
“We believe people are experts in their own lives," added Jennifer Loving, CEO of Destination: Home. "Guaranteed income allows families to make the choices they know will assist them in achieving their goals, and we believe philanthropy should seek to serve and amplify that wisdom and lived experience, rather than attempt to dominate it.”
“Through this project, the partners aim to demonstrate the ways in which guaranteed income can help address Silicon Valley’s deep systemic inequities and severe homelessness crisis,” the coalition said in a statement. The coalition reported that the median monthly rental in Silicon Valley is $2,850, and estimated that to afford this, families would need to make an average of $54.81 an hour, about 3.7 times the minimum earned wage.
The Silicon Valley Guaranteed Income Project will include a research and evaluation component, led by the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, to assess the effectiveness of guaranteed income on housing stability, health, economic and overall well-being. The evaluation is designed as a mixed-methods randomized controlled trial and will be among the first U.S.-based studies of guaranteed income as a homelessness mitigation strategy.
“This is a bold community initiative that aims to not only act locally but to think globally,” said Dr. Oanh Kieu Nguyen, a researcher at the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative and a Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator. “In addition to supporting families in Santa Clara County, we hope to show that guaranteed income is an innovative, yet simple, effective, efficient, equitable and evidence-based approach to addressing the humanitarian and public health crisis of homelessness in the U.S.”
The Silicon Valley Guaranteed Income Project is receiving financial support from several other private funders, including: Google.org, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and Sobrato Philanthropies.
Notification and onboarding of participating families into the project is currently underway. Participation and enrollment are by referral only, and the project is closed to new referrals at this time.