The pilot will aid extremely low-income Mountain View families and caregivers with at least one child under age 18 through $500 monthly payments
Mountain View, Calif. — Helping Mountain View’s most vulnerable residents who are disproportionally affected by a wide range of financial challenges: this is what the City of Mountain View’s Elevate MV will start doing this summer. At the Tuesday, Feb. 22 meeting, the City Council approved over $1 million in funding for Elevate MV, which is the City’s guaranteed basic income (GBI) pilot program.
“Mountain View is taking bold steps to address income inequality and pervasive poverty through Elevate MV,” said Mayor Lucas Ramirez. “The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the income divide across America. The City’s guaranteed basic income pilot program will show us what a monthly cash payment of $500 to qualifying families can do to improve the well-being of struggling residents and benefit the community as a whole.”
The Elevate MV pilot program will involve:
- Aiding extremely low-income Mountain View families and custodial caregivers with at least one child under the age of 18. Income eligibility would be set at 30% Area Median Income (AMI).
- Restricting eligibility to Mountain View residents without regard to immigration documentation and/or housing status.
- Providing participants $500 a month from 12 to 24 months ($6,000 per year), serving approximately 166 families.
The City anticipates applications for Elevate MV will start being accepted in the May/June timeframe through an online portal available in multiple languages. 166 randomly selected qualifying recipients would then begin receiving direct cash payments after a verification process for the program criteria.
For the GBI pilot, the City is partnering with Community Services Agency (CSA) of Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills to administer the flat monthly cash payment of $500 to qualifying residents over a 12-to-24-month period. GBI recipients are empowered to make their own decisions on how to spend money in the way that best meets their basic needs.
"Community Services Agency (CSA) is pleased to participate in this important program," said Tom Myers, Executive Director. "Guaranteed Basic Income will help a few fortunate members of the community receive important supplemental income. The research data will be valuable in informing our programming for the future."
The City is also enlisting the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania as the project research partner that will also provide a randomized controlled trial evaluation for Elevate MV. The City determined that having a non-governmental third party provide the research services would best support an objective evaluation of the pilot program’s effects on participants’ livelihoods.
“At a moment in U.S. history when the needs of caregivers are front and center, Mountain View is choosing to center their experiences in their research design,” said Dr. Amy Castro, co-director of the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania and assistant professor at Penn’s School of Social Policy and Practice. “Policy makers still have a lot to learn about how cash impacts households with children and we are excited that this pilot will help us learn more about smart, data-driven policy on unconditional cash.”
In addition, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI) will provide the City with no-cost, one-on-one technical assistance for the pilot program.
"Guaranteed income fosters resilience and strengthens communities," said MGI Director Sukhi Samra. "Through its new pilot, Mountain View will join the ranks of pioneering cities across the country that are helping residents recover from the pandemic by building economic stability."
At this time, Elevate MV will run for a 12-month term, with a second year to be considered as part of the Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget process.
For updates on Elevate MV including when applications are being accepted for the pilot program, visit MountainView.gov/ElevateMV.