Stimulus News: 305 California Families Are Getting $500 — See Who Qualifies

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A total of 305 families in Sonoma County, California are receiving a $500 check this month as part of the Pathway to Income Equity program. Recipients of the pilot program will receive a check each month for two years. Payments began in February, according to the program’s website.

According to the Sonoma County Administrator’s Office, officials will study the effect of guaranteed income on poverty and promoting economic mobility for families with young children. The program was developed by nonprofit group First 5 Sonoma County, and $5.4 million for the program was funded by the County of Sonoma in partnership with Santa Rosa, Petaluma and Healdsburg.

During the two-month application period, which began Sept. 1 and ended Oct. 31 of last year, the program received 6,450 online applications. Recipients were selected by lottery. The Sonoma County Administrator’s Office stated that to be eligible, a family must:

  • Live in Sonoma County
  • Have a household income of no more than 185% of the federal poverty level depending on the family size (approximately $51,338 or below for a family of four)
  • Be pregnant and/or parenting a child under the age of 6
  • Have experienced adverse economic impacts due to the pandemic, such as loss of employment, income, child care or housing
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“These payments will help families with young children who are often struggling under the double burden of the high costs of housing and child care — typically the two highest household expenses,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “The information we gain from this pilot program will help shape future efforts to improve the health and welfare of our community.”

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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