San Francisco launches new guaranteed income program for trans community

The program, part of a larger City effort to offer temporary income as a way to address poverty and the first focused in transgender communities, is now accepting applications.
November 16, 2022

San Francisco, CA -- Mayor London N. Breed today announced the launch of a new guaranteed income program for San Francisco’s trans community. The Guaranteed Income for Trans People (GIFT) Program will provide low-income transgender San Franciscans with $1,200 each month, up to 18 months to help address financial insecurity within trans communities.

As part of the City’s growing portfolio of guaranteed income programs, GIFT is one of several programs the City is developing, implementing, and evaluating to identify how to best support San Francisco residents and promote economic stability and recovery. This pilot program is the first guaranteed income initiative to focus solely on trans people, and will accept applications from November 15 through December 15, 2022.

The GIFT Program will provide 55 eligible trans individuals with temporary income and a range of wrap-around direct services such as gender affirming medical and mental health care, case management and specialty care services, as well as financial coaching.

“Our Guaranteed Income Programs allow us to help our residents when they need it most as part of our City’s economic recovery and our commitment to creating a more just city for all,” said Mayor London Breed. “We know that our trans communities experience much higher rates of poverty and discrimination, so this program will target support to lift individuals in this community up. We will keep building on programs like this to provide those in the greatest need with the financial resources and services to help them thrive.”

Transgender communities, experience poverty and economic instability at disproportionate rates. In 2015, when the U.S. Trans Survey was last conducted, 33% of trans Californians were living in poverty, compared to 12% of people in the general population. The percentage among trans people who are also Black, Indigenous and People of Color is even higher.

“Even with our rich history of trans advocacy, we see that trans San Franciscans experience poverty at exponentially higher rates compared to the general population,” said Pau Crego, Executive Director of the San Francisco Office of Transgender Initiatives. “This is especially the case for trans people of color, disabled trans people, trans elders, and other trans communities

deeply impacted by discrimination and barriers to education, employment, and economic mobility. While in other parts of the country and the world trans people are targeted by institutions and legislators, in San Francisco, we move towards progress and justice by investing in our most vulnerable residents."

Lyon-Martin Community Health Services and The Transgender District are leading program design and implementation of this innovative program, with support from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD), the Office of Transgender Initiatives (OTI), and the Treasurer & Tax Collector (TTX).

“While healthcare often focuses on the downstream effects of marginalization, we know that changing the material realities of trans communities can significantly impact their health for the better – indeed, for trans people, it is a life-or-death situation,” said JM Jaffe, Executive Director of Lyon-Martin Community Health Services. “We hope that our guaranteed income program will be the beginning of a reparative process to change the inequities experienced by our communities, help them survive in a world that is constantly debating their right to exist, and empower them to engage in healthcare services in a meaningful and life-changing way.”

“The GIFT program is a historic program that will build economic stability and self-sufficiency for San Francisco’s most impacted trans residents,” said Aria Sa’id, President of The Transgender District. “By giving low-income trans people the resources to cover the expenses they deem most immediate and important given each person’s unique situation, we are implementing a truly community-centered intervention to combat poverty. The Transgender District is thrilled to partner with Lyon-Martin Community Health Services and the City on this pilot program.”

The City’s guaranteed income programs are an economic model that provide regular, unconditional cash transfers to individuals or households. This differs from other social safety net practices by providing a steady, predictable stream of cash to recipients to spend as they see fit without limitations. The GIFT program is San Francisco’s third guaranteed income program. It follows the Abundant Birth Project and the Guaranteed Income Pilot for Artists.

The Abundant Birth Project

In 2020, the City launched the Abundant Birth Project, which offers basic income for Black and Pacific Islander mothers and pregnant people during and after pregnancy. The Abundant Birth Project is a simple approach to achieving better maternal health and birthing outcomes by providing pregnant Black and Pacific Islander women a monthly income supplement for the duration of their pregnancy and during the postpartum period as an economic and reproductive health intervention.

Each year, qualifying pregnant parents in San Francisco who are Black or Pacific Islanders receive $1,000 monthly payments as part of the Abundant Birth Project in partnership with Expecting Justice. Their payments apply for their first trimester until two years post-partum.

To date, San Francisco has supported 135 birthing parents with monthly payments; the goal is to enroll 150 by the end of the year.

Testimonial from Abundance Birth Project Coach

“Our ABP Mama was very grateful to be receiving our income supplement. Not only has she been able to afford her family's financial needs but she has also been able to prepare for the birth of her second child in ways that differ from her first. Despite having a different support system this round, this Mama has been able to buy essential baby items that she would not have been able to afford on her work income alone (including a stroller and a car seat).

The Guaranteed Income Pilot for Artists

In 2021, San Francisco launched a pilot program to offer cash relief to local artists who were disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Guaranteed Income Pilot for Artists, in partnership with the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, currently provides 190 artists who live and work in San Francisco monthly payments of $1,000 for up to 18 months.

This program is available to San Francisco artists engaged with the community through music, dance, creative writing, visual art, performance art, installation, photography, theater, or film. Teaching artists, arts educators, and culturally-based craft workers and makers are also encouraged to apply.

Stories of artists who have benefited from this program can be found at this link.

People interested in applying for San Francisco’s Guaranteed Income Program for Trans People can apply online at

In 2023, the City will launch two additional guaranteed income programs geared towards youth.