SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco artists will begin receiving $1,000 a month in guaranteed income under a pilot program to support those disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor London Breed announced Thursday.
Approximately 130 artists who meet eligibility requirement will receive the payments for six months beginning in May. The program is targeting artists who actively engage with the community through music, dance, creative writing, visual art, performance art, installation, photography, theater, or film, according to a press release from Mayor Breed’s office.READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Are We Any Closer To Another Relief Payment?
“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 Breed in a prepared statement. “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.”
The city is partnering with the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) to administer the program, one of several guaranteed income programs the City is implementing, including funding for San Franciscans training to become EMTs, Black and Pacific Islander expecting mothers, and members of the city’s Black and African-American community.
The notion of cities providing guaranteed income to marginalized residents has gained more traction following former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs’ implementation of a privately-funded program giving 125 low-income people $500 per month for two years. Results of the pilot program showed most people used the money to pay off debt and land full-time jobs.READ MORE: Southeastern U.S.: A Rainy Week Ahead
Marin County and Oakland have also recently announced their own guaranteed income programs, which provides cash to recipients without limitations on how the money is spent. San Francisco’s program is the first one specifically targeted to struggling artists.
“This Guaranteed Income Pilot is grounded in the understanding that artists and the cultural sector are the heartbeat of our civic life and must be supported through innovative funding methods,” said YBCA CEO Deborah Cullinan in a prepared statement. “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. Our learnings from the Pilot will be used to advance the wider movement advocating for unrestricted cash payments that provide financial stability to those who need it most, including artists.”
The city’s outreach strategy for the program is focused on those hardest hit by the pandemic, including Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), immigrant, disabled, and LGBTQ artist communities.
“To extend the guaranteed income program to San Francisco artists in our BIPOC communities is the right and just step forward in addressing racial equity. Arts and cultural are why we love and live in cities, especially San Francisco,” said Vallie Brown, Director, Grants for the Arts in a prepared statement. “Giving artists a guarantee monthly income is truly investing in San Francisco’s recovery. Arts and cultural is San Francisco’s Golden Ticket to a thriving economy and vibrant communities.”MORE NEWS: Lifeline Animal Project Stresses Urgent Need For Dog Foster Homes In Metro Atlanta
Artists seeking more information about the guaranteed income program can visit ybca.org/guaranteed-income-pilot.