Palm Springs Pays $200,000 to Nonprofits to Develop a Universal Basic Income Program for Poor LGBT Residents

Palm Springs is known for a lot of things: Sinatra…Elvis…nonbinary persons getting paid because they're broke and claim they're not a woman or man instead of saying what they are. Now the latter can be paid for their time, thanks to the Palm Springs City Council.

According to the Desert Sun, the Council gave $200,000 to two nonprofits to develop a pilot. The program is aimed at providing a payment of $900 for 18 months to 20 people “who live, work or otherwise spend the majority of their time in Palm Springs.” But there's a catch: Applicants must not just meet a poverty threshold; they also must declare that they're gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or non-binary. The vote in favor was unanimous, and the non-profits include HIV/AIDS charity DAP Health and a group named Queer Works.

From the site of the latter organization, the home page of which is adorned with seven different LGBT flags: “Our aim is to lessen the disparities that people who are transgender or gender-non-binary, and intersex individuals [face] in addition to help reduce the disparities in our gay, lesbian, and bisexual communities.”

Common discrepancies include homelessness, unemployment as well as mental health and medical issues, more frequent suicides and higher levels of poverty. The most common causes for these disparities are discrimination in housing and health and employment, the risk of violence in the community, family rejection, and religious discrimination.

As reported by the Desert Sun, the two institutions were seeking more than $200,000. The City Council stopped short of approving the larger amount of up to $900,000 that the leaders of the groups behind the project claim will probably be needed in order for the project to proceed and also expressed reservations about doing so in the near future.

These universal basic income plans are said to “address poverty and perhaps do so better than other efforts that come with more limits and requirements.”

Naturally, not all are excited. You can count among the critical group Republican Carl DeMaio, who was previously San Diego City Council's first gay member. Carl described the idea as “outrageous and discriminatory.”

According to an announcement, “We are completely against universal basic income or guaranteed programs because they create inflation and increase costs of living for everyone. They aren't effective.”

However, Palm Springs council member Christy Holstege heralded the opportunity “to participate in a cutting-edge, state-of-the-art pilot program which will help get quantitative and qualitative data to show how this [guaranteed income] impacts futures and lives.”

Although state funds haven't yet been used to fund the actual distribution of dough, that doesn't mean they won’t be. Returning to the Sun, it reported that the $200,000 budget would enable DAP along with Queer Works staff to put together an application to receive a portion of the $35 million that the state has allocated to provide grants to entities that want to create guaranteed income programs throughout California.

But the possibility of a split could be imminent: Queer Works CEO Jacob Rostovsky declared it was likely that the City of Palm Springs would have to match the funding provided by the state of California in order for the state to agree to pay for the program.

Universal basic income (UBI) has garnered an adequate amount of popularity over the last couple of years, which is not unusual, given the recent rise in Americans who favor socialism. It's important to know that the majority of those who support it believe that “socialism” means you magically gain ownership of the business for which you work. If Uncle Sam is handing over his throne, throw on communism and soak in the money. In terms of assisted living with a rainbow theme, Southern California gay mecca West Hollywood is also giving the concept a try. Stay tuned for additional towns to join in.

Maybe, in the end, we'll all end up being LGBTQIA and whatever to get free money. But somewhere along the line, straight-lovers are going to make us pay up to be truthful about who we are. If we do decide to opt in to get jobs…we'll all be CEOs.

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