Proposed Oregon Bill Would Pay Homeless People $1,000 Per Month

Oregon is weighing a new bill to give low-income and homeless people $1,000 per month in universal basic income. 

The Oregon legislature is considering a bill to implement a People’s Housing Assistance Fund Demonstration Program through the state’s Department of Human Services. 

The Oregon legislation is the most recent blue state to look to give handouts to individuals in universal basic income (UBI) programs. 

According to Bill Track 50, the bill would “provide 12 monthly payments of $1,000 to individuals who are experiencing homelessness, are at risk of homelessness, are severely rent burdened or earn at or below 60 percent of area median income.” 

The legislation would require a study looking into who is receiving the funds, broken down by a few demographics, including veteran status, risk of domestic violence, and race. 

According to supporters, the $1,000 payments can be used at the discretion of the recipient but maintain it will be used toward living expenses and rent. However, the recipient’s choice may backfire as some could use the money for drugs or alcohol. 

Oregon is not the only state, or the first, to consider using universal essential income payments

A city in California plans to give universal basic income to non-binary and transgender residents. In Palm Springs, transgender residents are eligible to receive UBI of as much as $900 per month for solely identifying as non-binary or transgender, with no other requirements or strings attached. 

The new program is in the pilot stage and will have $200,000 allocated after passing by a unanimous vote by the City Council last week. 

The bill was proposed in the state legislature by Democratic Senator Wlnsvey Campos, the youngest every-elected senator in Oregon. 

Emergency expenses, childcare, food, or other goods and services needed by the recipients would be covered by the new $1,000 payments. 

“I am low income, and I have to say that it is very, very difficult to make ends meet, especially on a very small budget,” said Charene Reavis, resident of Florence, during a public hearing on the bill. Reavis serves on the steering committee for Residents Organizing for Change (ROC), a group of residents and organizations advocating for housing solutions and policy in Oregon.

Payments would target people aged 58 and up, veterans, households with children, BIPOC, homeless youth, families with children, and people with disabilities.

Before implementing the program, Portland State University would conduct a study on the benefits, policy options, and costs of providing financial assistance. If the trial program succeeds, the DHS will craft a plan to administer the funds.