Sacramento program gives families $300 a month, no strings attached. How it’s changing lives

Sacramento Bee

Fienishia Wash arrived in Sacramento three years ago, when untenable rent prices in Oakland forced her and her family to pack up their belongings and move inland, despite knowing no one here.

They lived out of her car six months while Wash was “working like a dog” to finally scrounge enough money to secure a home. A single mother of five, Wash and her three youngest children — two have special needs, and one is in kindergarten — now survive on income she earns through county for providing in-home supportive services for her son. Nearly all of it goes toward her $1,660 monthly rent for a townhouse in South Sacramento. “Thank goodness for food stamps and deep freezers,” Wash said.

But a first-of-its-kind guaranteed income program in Sacramento is providing a crucial lifeline for Wash and her family. She is one of 100 people who are receiving $300 a month through June 2023 as part of local nonprofit United Way California Capital Region’s Direct Investment Program in Sacramento.

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