The city of Palm Springs, Calif., last month allocated $200,000 to help fund the application process for a pilot program that hopes to provide a universal basic income (UBI) to trans and nonbinary residents, but on Wednesday Mayor Lisa Middleton emphatically denied the city is serving as a funding mechanism for the program or the individuals who would eventually receive the funds.
"It is not what the headlines are reporting," Middleton told Ryan A. Mitchell in an exclusive interview on the Let's Go There w/ Shira & Ryan podcast on Audacy's Channel Q, a portion of which was posted to social media. "The headlines are wrong. And forgive me for saying that loudly, but it needs to be said the headlines have got it wrong."
Mitchell was referring to news reports claiming the city had allocated $200,000 to provide UBI to trans and nonbinary residents of the city. In fact, the city only agreed to help fund the application process for funding for the program from the state government of California. The pilot program is to be run by DAP Health and Queer Works.
According to a press release from DAP Health and Queer Works, the funding from the city will "enable the two organizations to study best practices of successful initiatives nationwide, conduct local research, and gain local input to inform their design process."
Middleton appeared to agree with that statement on Wednesday.
"The $200,000 is to allow DAP Health and Queer Works to develop the application, to do focus groups, to research best practices, to attempt to hire individuals that would be responsible for putting together the program and for messaging to the community," Middleton explained to Mitchell.
Middleton noted that while the two groups are proposing a UBI of $900 per month to marginalized trans and nonbinary citizens, the funds provided by the city were meant only to help the program navigate through the application process to obtain funding from the state government, and not fund directly fund UBI.
"The city of Palm Springs is providing $200,000 to help in the application process," Middleton said. "We did not commit, we did not commit to providing any additional funding. We did not commit to moving forward with being a UBI management organization."
The Los Angeles Times reported last month the City Council of Palm Springs had voted unanimously to help fund the initial stages of the program, but other media outlets seized on the news to portray the city as directly funding trans and nonbinary residents with a monthly stipend.