The City Launches New Guaranteed Income Pilot Program for Former Foster Youth
San Francisco, CA — Today, the San Francisco Human Services Agency (SFHSA) announced the launch of a new guaranteed income pilot program for former foster youth in San Francisco. Supported by California Department of Social Services (CDSS), the City and County of San Francisco, the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department (SFJPD) and the non-profit Tipping Point Community, SFHSA’s Foundations for the Future Guaranteed Income Pilot will provide 150 low-income youth who have recently aged out of San Francisco’s extended foster care and juvenile probation systems monthly payments of $1,200 for 18 months. SFHSA is one of just seven organizations across the State to be competitively awarded a grant to launch the program through California’s first ever state-funded Guaraneed Income Pilot Program.
“Transitioning out of the foster care system can be incredibly challenging for many of our youth. During the pandemic, San Francisco invested local general funds to help youth aging out of the foster care system by providing extra support in a particularly challenging economic environment,” said Trent Rhorer, Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency. “The Foundations for the Future Guaranteed Income Pilot aims to disrupt poverty, advance equity, and support the basic needs of our former foster youth, while also helping them further pursue education, job training, and financial literacy. Given the high cost of living in the City, youth should not miss out on achieving their full potential because of choosing between paying rent or investing in their future.”
“Young people who age out of the Juvenile Probation Department’s extended foster care program, who are disproportionately people of color, face dual challenges associated with juvenile justice and foster care system involvement,” said San Francisco Juvenile Probation Chief Katherine W. Miller. “The guaranteed income pilot program creates a pathway to address the collateral consequences of multiple system involvement and achieve sustainable independence.”
Nationally, about one third of foster youth experience homelessness at some point after leaving care and, in San Francisco’s latest homeless point in time survey, 22% of all survey respondents in San Francisco reported a history of foster care involvement. In California, many foster youth can receive extended care benefits during their transition into adulthood, from age 18 until they turn 21. Since 2012, the goal of extended foster care is to support foster youth with the transition to adulthood and economic independence; however, many of these youth are far from financially self-sufficient by the time they turn 21, particularly in high-cost counties like San Francisco. Given the correlation between homelessness and involvement in the foster care system, SFHSA is particularly focused on ensuring that the guaranteed income pilot helps youth cover the expenses they deem most important given each person’s unique situation and to avoid becoming unhoused.
“I would like to thank the City and County of San Francisco for partnering with us on this groundbreaking effort, which was made possible by Governor Newsom, the State Legislature, philanthropy, and local funding,” CDSS Director Kim Johnson said. “As guaranteed income pilots begin to launch throughout the state, we look forward to learning about the impact these payments have on the lives of Californians exiting extended foster care.”
The Foundations for the Future Guaranteed Income Pilot will provide youth participants the financial support to help further ease the transition out of the foster care system and into adulthood. The program’s funds are unrestricted, which means youth can use the money as they see fit. In addition to the financial support, youth will be offered benefits counseling by Bay Area Legal Aid with case management and financial literacy coaching by First Place for Youth. Enrollment begins this week and the first payments will be disbursed in November 2023.
Program participants must meet the following criteria in order to be accepted into the program:
- At least 21 years old and have aged out of San Francisco extended foster care through Family & Children's Services or Juvenile Probation, on or after January 1, 2022.
- Have an annual household income of $60,000 or less for a single adult (no children) in San Francisco County. *
“I heard about the guaranteed income pilot through my social worker, who told me I qualified for the program. I was overly grateful to hear about the opportunity, thinking that the help would end right when I leave the foster care system fully at age 21, which wasn’t the case,” said Tiamane Haney, a 22-year-old youth participant who was born and raised in San Francisco. “I will use the program’s monthly payment by paying the rest of my car note which has five payments left, buying food since I don’t qualify for food stamps, and supporting my holistic well-being and overall health. Last, but not least, the monthly payment will help me pay rent for my own place, which I plan on moving to very soon and rent could go up depending on the location. This program will help me in many ways, along with the work I put in. I’m very thankful for this opportunity.”
The pilot will evaluate the impact of guaranteed income on educational attainment, income, housing stability, and overall wellbeing. A rigorous statewide evaluation of the pilot will be conducted by the Urban Institute and the University of California, Berkeley. In partnership with Tipping Point Community, SFHSA is supplementing and extending that statewide evaluation to analyze the impacts two years after youth exit the pilot. Chapin Hall is the SFHSA partner for the local evaluation.
“The City and County of San Francisco has a long and exceptional history of investment and innovation in foster youth and the child welfare system. To continue advancing that effort, we felt that it was important to partner with them and to evaluate what works, what doesn’t, and why so that going forward, every young person has access to effective, life-changing resources,” said Sam Cobbs, CEO of Tipping Point Community.
The Foundations for the Future Guaranteed Income Pilot is San Francisco’s fifth guaranteed income program in a continually growing portfolio that includes the Guaranteed Income for Trans People (GIFT) Program, Abundant Birth Project, Trust Youth Initiative, and Guaranteed Income Pilot for Artists, among others. These programs help ensure that San Franciscans are not just financially stable today, but also have access to the long-term economic prosperity that’s strongly tied to having their basic needs met today. Guaranteed income programs, along with investments in housing, education, and workforce development, continue to help the City support its residents and advance its economic recovery.
* SFHSA is using the Insight Center’s Family Needs Calculator to determine the income floor eligibility for this pilot based on a family size of 2 adults and 2 children (infants). This threshold will vary depending on the county each participant currently lives in.’
About the San Francisco Human Services Agency
SFHSA serves as the foundation for two City Departments, each with a unique role in supporting San Franciscans. Together, SFHSA builds well-being in communities by offering programs that make children and adults feel connected, valued, and supported. From financial assistance to nutrition, health care coverage, employment, and protective services, SFHSA’s dedicated professionals support all in need. More information at SFHSA.org.