Some Oregon residents could get $1,000 monthly for the next two years if a new proposal from the state senate is approved. If approved, Oregon’s plan for regular stimulus checks would be the first time the state has ever given everyone a basic income.
Proposed Universal Basic Income Program: What Is It?
Sen. Wlnsvey Campos, D-Aloha, created Senate Bill 603 to help people without homes or with low incomes for two years. This universal basic income program is a pilot to see how the regular $1,000 stimulus checks from Oregon affect the ability of recipients to find stable housing or improve their health.
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At a public hearing earlier this month, Campos said the objective of the universal basic income program is to “support Oregonians struggling to pay their rent and meet their basic needs and to demonstrate the benefit that directs financial assistance provides both to low-income Oregonians and the state.”
The proposal calls for setting aside $25 million to run the guaranteed income pilot program through 2025 and pay for a study by Portland State University’s Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative to learn more about the program’s effects.
The study’s primary goal is to find out if the program should be kept going and made more prominent so that it can help more people.
According to the proposal, the $25 million would be used to set up a People’s Housing Assistance Fund Demonstration Program, which the Department of Human Services will run. The pilot program will help one thousand people.
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Who Will Get the Regular $1,000 Checks from Oregon?
Under the program, people who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, pay a lot for rent, or make 60% less than the area’s median income will be prioritized.
The proposal doesn’t say who will get priority in this category. Still, it does say that people who are already getting help with housing or who make more than 60% of the median income in their area won’t be able to participate in the program.
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Even though there are no rules about how the money can be used, supporters of the bill expect it to be used to pay rent, cover emergency costs, buy food, and pay for child care.
People who were against the program questioned whether or not the people who took part could use the money responsibly. Some people also say spending the money directly on housing and mental health care would be better.
To argue against this, people who support the program pointed to the federal pandemic stimulus payments and the expanded child tax credit as good uses of money that wasn’t limited.
Also, similar programs in Washington, D.C., Jackson, Mississippi, Stockton, California, and all over Canada showed that the money was used to improve people’s financial, mental, and physical health.
It is unclear if Campos’s plan for Oregon to send regular $1,000 stimulus checks will get enough support to become law. But the bill will likely face problems since Gov. Tina Kotek has already announced a big plan to help people with housing and homelessness that doesn’t include Campos’ idea.