Posted on December 12, 2022

San Francisco’s Guaranteed Income Program for Pregnant Black Women Expanding Into Four Other California Counties

Vanessa Serna, Daily Mail, December 11, 2022

California is expanding its guaranteed income program for pregnant black women to receive up to $1,000 per month for 12 months.

The Abundant Birth Program started in San Francisco last year in partnership with Expecting Justice to reduce racial birth disparities, such as premature births that occur due to wealth discrepancies. The program served 150 over the past 12 months.

Now, with $5 million more in state funding, the program will expand in different counties, including Los Angeles, Riverside, Contra Costa and Alameda in 2023 and serve about 425 more mothers.

‘For so long, black women have been excluded from the resources needed to have safe and healthy pregnancies,’ Dr. Zea Malawa, Director of Expecting Justice, said.

‘This funding will provide pregnant people with economic stability during this critical phase in their lives while allowing public health institutions to test a novel and promising public health intervention.’

The program website cites that black women are twice as likely to experience premature births than white women, and aims to improve the statistic and ease economic disparities.

As the program expands, black mothers will receive between $600 to $1,000 for up to 12 months.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said she hopes the program will serve as a model throughout the country to address racial birth disparities.

‘The Abundant Birth Project has proven to be successful in San Francisco and brings an innovative, equitable approach to addressing disproportionate health impacts largely among black families, which is why I committed to investing $1.5 million over the next two years to grow the program in our City and neighboring counties,’

‘This guaranteed income program helps ease some of the financial burdens that all too often keep mothers from being able to prioritize their own health and ultimately impact the health of their babies and family.’

Last year, the program also served Pacific Islander women, but it is unclear if they are included in the upcoming expansion.

The guaranteed income program funding increase comes after California’s reparations task force urged the federal government to pay every African American in the US at least $223,000 for ‘housing discrimination.’

The nine-person group believes that black Americans should receive the money for ‘enduring the economic effects’ of racism and slavery – after initially making the suggestions in California.

It was created by Newsom’s legislation which he signed in 2020 and is the largest reparation effort in recent history.

California is the first state to require agencies to present a separate demographic category for descendants of enslaved people.

The New York Times reported that the task force has spent months traveling across the West coast to learn about the effect of the policies.

In a March 2022 report, those eligible for the reparations would have to be descendants of enslaved African Americans or of a ‘free black person living in the United States prior to the end of the 19th century.

They argue that the money is for housing discrimination practices utilized from 1933 to 1977 – and have 12 more categories to consider.

Members of the panel are calling for the federal government to take on their concerns – a move that could cost billions to fulfill.

Kamilah Moore, a member of the group, told KCRA 3: ‘For the federal government, what I want to make clear is that although California is making history in atoning for its harm against its African American community that does not leave the federal government off the hook.

‘And reparations for African Americans or the American freedmen community is first and foremost a federal responsibility.

‘And so I hope that this report is used not only as an educational tool but an organizing tool that is leveraged for executive action on the federal level.’

Discussions are still underway, and the panel is continuing to consider how payments should be made – some suggested tuition and housing grants, while others proposed cash.

It has until June 2023 to submit its final recommendations to the Legislature.