The McKinleyville Family Resource Center focuses on providing resources that benefit the community. They found an opportunity through the California Department of Social Services to create the Humboldt Income Program.
The Humboldt Income Program provides 150 people with direct payments of $920 a month for 18 months, with no strings attached.
“The program is open to people who are in the first 27 weeks of pregnancy, who live in Humboldt County, are at or below 200% the federal poverty level and are 18 years old or older,” said Robin Baker, the Co-Executive Director and Program Manager for the Humboldt Income Program.
There are currently 99 people signed up but there are slots available for 150. Each week, about 15 people sign up at the McKinleyville Family Resource Center. But not everyone who applies is selected.
“One of the requirements from the state is that we do something called a randomized controlled trial,” Baker said. “So that means every week everyone who applies gets pulled together and is essentially chosen in a lottery system. So we’ll have 150 people who receive those $920 payments, and then there’ll be 100 people who will receive just $20, which is next to nothing.”
The four options for payment include direct deposit, debit card by mail or pick up at the McKinleyville Family Resource Center or a prepaid virtual debit card. The payments go for 18 months.
“There is a lot of work happening at the national and state level around policy advocacy for guaranteed income,” Baker said. “So I’m hopeful that this means there will be a continuation of this program or others like it, and then we’ll also use it to inform how we design programs here. If there’s a way we can secure grants where we’re able to attach direct financial assistance to the work we’re doing with folks, we’ll do that.”
Participants must be referred by one of the McKinleyville Family Resource Center partners. The partners are Open Door Community Health Centers, Redwoods Rural Health Center, United Indian Health Services, Hoopa TANF, CalWORKs Eligibility, Providence Medical Group, Programs of Providence St.Joseph Hospital Paso a Paso and CARE Network and K:Ima’w Medical Center. More information about the Humboldt Income Program can be found at the center’s website.