City of Alameda Guaranteed Income Pilot Program

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Program Description

The City of Alameda (City) is developing Rise Up Alameda, a guaranteed income pilot program that will provide $1,000 per month to 150 low-income Alameda households over a two-year period. The Alameda City Council directed the use of $4.6 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for Rise Up Alameda and program launch is anticipated for summer  2023. The goals of Rise Up Alameda are to reduce economic instability for program participants, help to change local narratives and perceptions surrounding poverty and the provision of public benefits, and help to support and inform the larger discussion regarding public benefits and anti-poverty policies.

Administrative Structure

The administrative structure for the City’s GI Pilot Program involves five main components:

  • City Sponsor: As the anchor for the community, the City will assist in the development and implementation of the Rise Up Alameda, provide oversight of the program partners, and support in the promotion of the program.
  • Implementing Partner: Operation Dignity is the Implementing Partner for Rise Up Alameda and is responsible for administering the program. Responsibilities will include: program support, collecting applications from potential recipients, selection and enrollment of recipients, and collaboration with other partners (e.g. the City) on outreach and communication efforts.
  • Research Partner: Abt Associates is Rise Up Alameda’s Research Partner and is responsible for designing, in collaboration with other program partners, the research component of Rise Up Alameda. A research component is important to secure benefits waivers so that Rise Up Alameda participants do not risk losing benefits from other assistance programs. For instance, the State of California will not grant an income waiver for programs such as CalWORKs or CalFresh without an approved research component. A research component will also inform how Rise Up Alameda may lead to creating financial stability for its recipients. In addition, the information will contribute to the knowledge obtained regarding guaranteed income programs as an anti-poverty policy tool.
  • Financial Partner: The Financial Partner will be responsible for administering the financial components of the program including the distribution of monthly payments funded by the City.
  • Advisory Board: An Advisory Board has been formed to support Rise Up Alameda. The Advisory Boards is composed of community and advocacy organizations, individuals with lived experience (i.e. low-income persons), and City staff will be created to help inform decision-making on key programmatic elements.
  • Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI): MGI was formed by former Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs and the staff involved in creating Stockton’s first-of-its-kind pilot program (SEED). MGI is funded philanthropically and provides its expertise and guidance to local governments free of charge. By joining MGI’s coalition, Rise Up Alameda is able to receive technical support and recognition. MGI brings extensive experience to Rise Us Alameda and continues to draw upon the dozens of pilot programs with which it has been involved.  

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the status of the selection process for Rise Up Alameda?
    • We are still in the process of finalizing who will be a part of Rise Up Alameda.  Those who have not been randomly selected to participate in the program will be notified by email by the end of January 2024.  
  • Who is eligible to apply?
    • All Alameda residents with a household income below 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) will be eligible to apply.

    Household Size

    Income Limit (50% AMI)

















    • Applicants must be aged 18 years or older, a resident of the City of Alameda, and have a household income less than 50% of Area Median Income.
    • Applicants will be asked to complete an online application (through a mobile device or computer) that will also serve as the initial survey for program participants for the research component of Rise Up Alameda.
    • During the application period, the City will work with the Alameda Free Library and community organizations to provide access to computers at multiple convenient locations in the community.
    • The application will be provided in multiple languages and designed to be accessible to a wide audience.
    • To ensure an equitable selection process, at the end of the application period, all applicants who meet the eligibility criteria will be placed into a randomized lottery to select the final participants. 
  • What will the application and selection process look like?
    • In an effort to garner a robust applicant pool, Operation Dignity will work with City staff, the Advisory Board, and front-line organizations to promote the program and conduct focused outreach within communities that include, but are not limited to, the following:
      • People experiencing or at risk of homelessness
      • Immigrant, refugee and limited English-speaking communities
      • Historically disenfranchised groups including Black, Indigenous and other communities of color
      • Low income families, including senior citizens
      • Affordable housing tenants/renters
      • People with disabilities
      • Children, youth, Alameda Unified School District families, and College of Alameda students
  • How will program participants be notified/what will the enrollment process look like?
    • Following notification of program selection, participants will be provided one-on-one orientation sessions that include a programmatic overview of Rise Up Alameda, walk participants through paperwork, and provide information to participants about existing benefits that may be impacted by enrollment in Rise Up Alameda.
    • Orientation sessions may include the creation of video content and/or other methods to effectively communicate information and enthusiasm for the Rise Up Alameda Program.
  • What steps will Rise Up Alameda take to limit the impacts on other benefits program participants receive?
    • A major concern in creating any guaranteed income program is how it may affect other benefits a recipient may also be currently receiving such as health insurance (e.g. Medicaid/Medical), housing assistance (e.g. Section 8), and food assistance (e.g. SNAP/CalFresh). The primary goal of Rise Up Alameda is to provide participants with additional economic stability. Therefore, program design will seek to limit any potential negative impacts on recipients’ economic situation due to participation in the program. Specifically, Rise Up Alameda will:
      • Work to secure income exemptions at both the State and federal levels for certain programs including, but not limited to, CalWORKS, CalFresh, and housing assistance benefits. To ensure that Rise Up Alameda participants do not suffer economically from participation, in addition to seeking income exemptions for benefit programs, the City will create an approximately $50,000 “Benefit Conservation Fund” to provide compensation to recipients if they become ineligible for Federal, State, County, and/or local benefits due to receiving payments.
      • The City will work with Operation Dignity to provide accessible and transparent information, as well as case-by-case benefits counseling, about the potential loss of benefits due to participation in Rise Up Alameda.
      • Before program participation is finalized, Operation Dignity will ensure those selected to participate in Rise Up Alameda are electing to participate while being fully aware of potential impacts to existing benefits. Complete and active consent of all Rise Up Alameda participants will be required.
  • How will cash payments be disbursed? 
    • Payments will be distributed monthly through preloaded debit cards on a predefined day in the middle of the month.  Payments will be structured as gift income. 
  • What type of evaluation of program participants will be implemented? 
    • The research component of Rise Up Alameda will be designed and implemented by Abt Associates, Inc, the City’s Research Partner.  The impacts of program participation will be measured across a range of indicators and compared to a control group. Evaluation efforts will track both quantitative and qualitative metrics and will help inform both local policy making and, more broadly, the refinement of guaranteed income as an anti-poverty policy tool.

For more information about the Rise Up Alameda, please visit the website or contact Operation Dignity at