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Bigleap : How Do I Apply for the Big Leap Program?

The City of Los Angeles is happy to announce the commencement of the BIG: LEAP (Basic Income Guaranteed: Los Angeles Economic Assistance Pilot) programme, the biggest guaranteed basic income pilot in the nation aimed to pull families out of poverty. The City’s pilot will pay $1,000 a month for 12 months to roughly 3,203 qualifying homes across Los Angeles that are living in poverty and have been deeply touched by the COVID-19 pandemic. 209 individuals will be selected from the 10th Council District.

“Poverty affects 2 out of every 10 citizens in the City of Los Angeles – most of the persons of colour. Thirty-one per cent are children,” said Abigail Marquez, General Manager of the Community Investment for Families Department. “$1,0000 a month can radically transform a family’s status. We know many more individuals will apply than can be served, but what we learn from this trial programme can help us be better advocates to help people more effectively and efficiently to break the cycle of poverty.”

Why Guaranteed Income?

  • Poverty influences the lives of more than 38 million people living in America today – close to twelve per cent of the U.S. population.
  • Poverty affects two out of every 10 citizens in the City of Los Angeles – most of the people of colour. Thirty-one per cent are children.
  • One-third of working individuals in Los Angeles aren’t able to sustain their families with full-time jobs alone.


The unrelenting poverty faced by too many Angelenos develops out of a lack of financial resources, not a lack of judgement. While Angelenos are doing everything in their power to achieve financial security, the burdens of a high cost of living, unaffordable housing options, and insufficient wages too often exceed families’ ability to confront those challenges on their own — and we know that the economic difficulties caused by COVID-19 will outlast the pandemic itself. Employment alone cannot always break the cycle of poverty, and research has consistently proved that direct cash aid is a key strategy for guaranteeing better stability for disadvantaged Americans.

What Is Big: Leap?

Basic Income Guaranteed: Los Angeles Economic Assistance Pilot is providing approximately 3,200 individuals with $1,000 per month for 12 months. These are unconditional, regular, and direct cash payments to individual participants that enhance existing welfare programmes. This means there are no constraints on how the money can be used and no criteria for the participants. GBI programmes are predicated upon the notion that the people facing financial instability or poverty are best positioned to make informed financial decisions that efficiently meet their household’s needs— whether that means paying for rent, a new tyre, or an unplanned trip to urgent care. These participants are provided with the freedom to satisfy their most important demands without delay.

Guaranteed basic income: Los Angeles begins taking applicants for the $1,000-a-month program \sCity News Service
Monday, November 1, 2021

Los Angeles residents have until Nov. 7 to apply for the city’s guaranteed basic income pilot programme, which will offer $1,000 a month to 3,000 households for a year.

Los Angeles (Cns)

Los Angeles residents have until Nov. 7 to apply for the city’s guaranteed basic income pilot programme, which will offer $1,000 a month to 3,000 households for a year. The roughly $40 million BIG: LEAP (Basic Income Guaranteed: Los Angeles Economic Assistance Pilot) initiative is the largest of its kind in the United States.

“Mayor Eric Garcetti said the name “fully encapsulates” what the city is doing. “We’re taking a giant step forward in our generational fight to eradicate poverty, to break the back of our addiction to poverty here in America,” Garcetti said in a statement on Wednesday.

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The application procedure commenced Friday. People can apply at More information is available from Councilman Curren Price’s district office at (323) 846-2651.

I Applied for La’s Basic Income Programme – and the Process Was Startling

Deeply personal questions about issues such as domestic violence highlight America’s ‘controlling’ of people in poverty

  • Los Angeles skyline in the haze
  • Los Angeles is initiating a trial initiative, Big: Leap, to explore the effects of giving 3,000 families $1,000 a month in cash with no strings attached. Photograph: Ringo
  • Chiu/Zuma Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock
  • Ruth Fowler
  • Mon 29 Nov 2021 11.00 GMT
  • Sitting in a Ralphs parking lot overlooking the Pacific Coast Highway at 8 am on a Friday, hot and sticky in an ancient wetsuit, I clicked on the link for Big: Leap, Los Angeles’
  • guaranteed income pilot and the largest programme of its kind in the US.


Applications for the programme had opened that morning. Participants would be chosen by lottery and the criteria for eligibility were simple: applicants had to be over the age of 18, live in the city of Los Angeles, have one or more dependents, and be living in poverty according to the federal poverty guidelines – a somewhat outdated and controversial method of measuring poverty, but one which, in the absence of anything else, is still used widely. The project’s purpose was basic, too: to evaluate the effects of giving around 3,000 people $1,000 a month in cash with no strings attached.

Garcetti said authorities looked at data from a smaller GPI programme in Stockton while creating the pilot, and studies revealed that the 125 Stockton residents who earned $500 per month were more than twice as likely to get full-time jobs as persons in a control group.

“Their full-time employment was secured because they could afford to attend the job interview that they could not previously attend. Maybe instead of two jobs, they could have one, and they were able to get full-time employment more than twice the rate of non-recipients,” Garcetti said, citing findings by Stacia West of the University of Tennessee’s College of Social Work and Amy Castro Baker of the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.

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The Stockton programme was executed between February 2019 and February 2020 under then-Mayor Michael Tubbs. Garcetti went on to say that the study discovered that participants “Participants in the experimental group reported feeling less weary and nervous than those in the control group.

How Do I Apply for the Big Leap Program?

Applicants can apply online at or visit a BIG: LEAP Community Partner (list of partners available by calling 311), local library,

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or locate a FamilySource Center (16 locations) for assistance. All in-person support will follow COVID-19 safety protocols.


“They spent more time with their children, which meant that those children received more assistance with schoolwork and were more likely to graduate,” he continued.


Critics of the programmes generally cite opposition to handing people free money, especially without constraints on how it might be spent. Some argue it will drive people to work less, while the Stockton program’s findings indicated that participants ended up working more. The proportion of grantees who had full-time work climbed from 28 per cent to 40 per cent, whereas the control group witnessed a 5 per cent gain in full-time employment during the same period.

On Tuesday, the City Council approved $27.4 million for the programme citywide, which includes around $3.4 million for Price’s district. Price’s office will provide an additional $6 million from its Guaranteed Basic Income Funds. The offices of Council Districts 6, 8 and 10 also gave financing from their offices’ GBI funds, totalling more than $5 million.

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