Progress

San Francisco Launches Guaranteed Income Initiative for Trans Citizens

San Francisco is launching the first guaranteed income initiative focused on the transgender community. The pilot program is designed to combat the chronic poverty and homelessness experienced by some of its most vulnerable trans residents.

The Guaranteed Income for Trans People (GIFT) will provide 55 applicants with $1,200 a month between January 2023 to June 2024. Applicants must be at least 18, identify as trans, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming or intersex, earn less than $600 a month, and must reside within San Francisco County and City.

And according to the program’s website, GIFT is prioritizing applicants who are BIPOC, “experiencing homelessness, living with disabilities and chronic illnesses, youth and elders, monolingual Spanish-speakers” as well as sex workers, undocumented, ​and formerly incarcerated peoples. In addition to income, recipients will receive support such as gender affirming care, financial coaching and mental health care.

The program is designed by trans organizations Lyon-Martin Community Health Services and The Transgender District. The SF Mayor’s Office, through various government agencies, will provide backing and support.

“We know that our trans communities experience much higher rates of poverty and discrimination, so this program will target support to lift individuals in this community up,” SF Mayor London Breed said in a statement to ABC7 News. “We will keep building on programs like this to provide those in the greatest need with the financial resources and services to help them thrive.”

SF’s Office of Transgender Initiatives illustrated the need for such a program. “The US Transgender Survey, which is the only large-scale study of trans people in the United States, in 2015 found that 33% of trans people in California were living in poverty,” said Executive Director Pau Crego. This stands in comparison to the approximate 13% poverty rate of the general population at the time.

“We hope that our guaranteed income program will be the beginning of a reparative process to change the inequities experienced by our communities, help them survive in a world that is constantly debating their right to exist, and empower them to engage in healthcare services in a meaningful and life-changing way,” said JM Jaffe, executive director of Lyon-Martin Community Health Services.

GIFT comes nearly six months after Breed announced a plan to end trans homelessness by 2027, making San Francisco the first US city to commit to such a goal. But that announcement was also made days after Breed declined to march in Pride, siding with police officers barred from attendance in uniform.

Applications for trans people living in San Francisco are open from November 15 to December 15 here.

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