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SF launches guaranteed monthly income program for struggling artists

San Francisco launched a six-month guaranteed income pilot program Thursday that will give monthly $1,000 payments to approximately 130 local struggling artists impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Applicants can apply on the Yerba Buena Center For The Arts website and must meet specific requirements, including residency in one of the 13 eligible zip codes, income loss due to Covid-19 and qualifying income limits. The deadline to apply for the program is April 15.

Mayor London Breed said in a statement:

“If we help the arts recover, the arts will help San Francisco recover. This new program is an innovative effort to help our creative sector get through this challenging time, and come back even stronger and more resilient than before.”

YBCA, which will administer the pilot, received a $870,000 grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission in order to launch the program.

Deborah Cullinan, CEO of YBCA, said in a statement:

“YBCA is committed to helping artists do what they do best – stimulate social cohesion, foster equitable economic development, and drive health and wellbeing in their communities. Artists must be given adequate resources to focus on creative output and reinvest in their communities as they navigate the ongoing challenges of living and working through a pandemic.”

Ralph Remington, Director of Cultural Affairs at the San Francisco Arts Commission, said in a statement that the sector has been hit hard by Covid-19 and the pilot program “allows artists to focus on their creative work and supports the recovery of the sector over.”

The City is working to developing another three guaranteed income programs, including funding for residents training to become emergency medical technicians, Black and Pacific Islander expecting mothers — as part of The Abundant Birth Project — and for members of the Black community.

Last month, Breed and Board of Supervisors President Shanmann Walton announced a spending plan of $60 million that was redirected from law enforcement to support The City’s Black community. One of the proposals included spending $7 million for a guaranteed income program.

Earlier this week, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff launched a guaranteed income pilot program that will give 600 low-income families of color $500 a month for 18 months.

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