Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) Pilot Programs

A Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) offers system-impacted individuals the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty by providing unconditional cash payments to support the recipient’s basic needs. Research findings from the first GBI participant group for former foster youth suggest that providing a basic income creates a normalcy which improves the individual's income stability, housing stability, employment stability, educational attainment, self-sufficiency, and overall well-being.

The County of Santa Clara (County) is piloting several guaranteed basic income programs as an approach to help individuals achieve stability in their finances, daily life, and long-term well-being through monthly unconditional cash payments of $1,200 for two years. The second GBI participant group for former foster youth began monthly payments in August 2023. The County's goal is to launch the remaining three GBI pilot programs targeting unhoused high school students, justice-involved clients, and young parents throughout 2024. These GBI pilot programs will distribute over $12 million in direct cash payment to approximately 400 individuals from the four participant groups.

The County is supporting GBI efforts throughout Santa Clara County to measure the efficacy of GBI as an intervention strategy to increase well-being, particularly addressing the following outcomes:

  1. Self-sufficiency of Former Foster Youth.
  2. Education/employment of Unhoused High School Students.
  3. Recidivism rates of Justice-involved Clients.
  4. Child care and generational success of children of Young Parents.


Additionally, the first GBI participant group of former foster youth reported other positive outcomes:

  • Importance and impact of adult and peer role models.
  • Developed and maintained connection with their social worker.
  • Developed skills through the volunteer mentors from Excite Credit Union who gave their time and financial expertise to increase credit scores, develop long-term financial plans, and served as sounding boards for important life decisions.
  • Grew a community of support for each other and a desire to provide similar support for the next GBI participant groups.


Below are highlights of positive, measurable impacts of GBI for the first GBI participant group based in surveys results before and after the two-year pilot period from August 2020 to September 2022.

  • Literal homelessness decreased from 11% to 5%
  • Home ownership increased from 0% to 3%
  • Renting increased in the following living arrangements:
    • Place alone: from 19% to 23%
    • Place with family: from 19% to 20%
    • Place with friends: from 6% to 8%
    • Place with others: from 14% to 23%
  • Majority of funds went to rent, but decreased from 76% of funds to 52% of funds
  • Enrollment in school full-time increased from 13% to 33%
  • Enrollment in school part-time decreased from 88% to 67%
  • Full-time employment increased from 44% to 58%
  • Individuals reporting they were in a meaningful career increased from 56% to 60%
  • Individuals whose work contributes to personal growth increased from 72% to 80%
  • Individuals with a checking account increased from 72% to 88%


To learn more or get involved in GBI, please email [email protected].

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