Direct Investment Program

More than 3.5 million families do not earn enough to meet basic needs.

As the first guaranteed income program in the Capital Region, the Direct Investment Program (DIP) decreases income volatility, helps residents remain housed and pays for necessities like food and childcare.

Families know what they need to thrive. DIP is part of a nationwide movement offering guaranteed income for communities historically undervalued and under-invested. Starting June 1, 2021, 100 families in Sacramento County are receiving $300 of unconditional income every month for 24 months. Currently, the first cohort of DIP is full.

In fall 2022, we will launch DIP 2.0 in partnership with funding from the City of Sacramento, which will expand the program to 80 additional participants. The randomly selected participants will receive $500/month for 12 months. Stay tuned for where and how to apply.

Eligibility

Eligible participants must qualify in two areas: 

  1. Residence: Eligible participants must have a residential address within the City of Sacramento limits.  
  2. Income: Eligible households will earn an income below the following limits for household size and composition: 
  • 1 Adult: $28,205 
  • 1 adult, 1 child: $49,945 
  • 1 adult, 2 children: $65,880 
  • 1 adult, 3 children: $79,500 
  • 2 adults: $43,201 
  • 2 adults, 1 child: $64,273 
  • 2 adults, 2 children: $79,500 
  • Household of 5: $93,120 
  • Household of 6: $106,740 
  • Household of 7: $120,360 
  • Household of 8: $133,980 
  • For households with more than 8 people, add $14,160 for each additional person. 

Learn More About Guaranteed Income

Social Justice Investments are a key part of United Way’s strategy to fight poverty in the region. Social Justice Investment initiatives like DIP focus on using United Way’s access to financial capital to redress historical inequities in our region.  Rather than mandating social workers, conditional services or specific direction, DIP creates an environment where families come together, empower themselves and are trusted to improve their lives in their own way. 

Social Justice Investments are a key part of United Way’s strategy to fight poverty in the region. Social Justice Investment initiatives like DIP focus on using United Way’s access to financial capital to redress historical inequities in our region.  Rather than mandating social workers, conditional services or specific direction, DIP creates an environment where families come together, empower themselves and are trusted to improve their lives in their own way. 

The first cohort of the Direct Investment Program (DIP 1.0) is a guaranteed income program of 100 Sacramento County households receiving $300/month for two years. United Way California Capital Region partnered with UpTogether to make this possible, but many other organizations and individuals helped make DIPS a reality. 

United Way contacted many other nonprofits, community-based organizations, and public agencies to spread the word about DIP. After a series of online, public information sessions, our partner organizations encouraged applications from Sacramento residents making up to 150% of the California Poverty Measure for their household size.  

UpTogether received hundreds of applications in the two-week open enrollment period. After verifying eligibility, UpTogether selected 100 qualifying applications through a randomized lottery to receive funds. 

About Our Partner

For DIP 1.0, our experienced partner, UpTogether, champions a nationwide movement where every person is recognized for their strengths and has what they need to thrive.  We share UpTogether’s approach to trusting families to lead their own change.     

 Its two-decade record of success across dozens of cities most recently includes Oakland’s guaranteed income demonstration called Oakland Resilient Families.  

Results from UpTogether efforts in the past have included increased monthly incomes of over 20%, increases of 100%+ in both monthly and long-term savings. See how investing directly in people has huge returns here.

There is no time like the present for direct, unconditional and guaranteed investment in our communities. After more than a year of social isolation, spiking unemployment and financial precarity, uncertainty persists in the form of expiring eviction moratoriums, ending enhanced unemployment insurance and persistent unemployment. Even before the pandemic, a majority of Americans could not afford an unexpected $400 expense in cash.  

The Sacramento median rental apartment costs about double what would be affordable on an individual’s median income. Over the last half decade and through the pandemic, Sacramento has continued to see some of the highest increases in housing cost nationwide. According to a study by the United Ways of California, 29% of Sacramento County households make less than the “Real Cost Measure.” Households in that range spend 2-4 times more of their income on housing than households above the Real Cost Measure. These sustained and growing problems are more than just byproducts of past recessions, but central features of an inequitable economic system.

$300 every month will not end this inequity on its own. It could, however, replace a part time job or gig. It could mean more time with children, with family, and with spouses. It could mean less stress or anxiety. It does provide some measure of certainty and dignity to hardworking families.  

Guaranteed Income has gained significant national attention in the last few years, but organized efforts to address growing economic inequality through guaranteed income have existed at least as far back as the 1960s Civil Rights movements. During the formation of the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO) in 1966, many of the Black women founders, including chairperson Johnnie Tillmoncalled for a guaranteed income.The NWRO saw that conditional aid (e.g., benefits with work requirements) biased welfare systems against single parents, unemployed and working poor, childless couples and single adults. Similarly, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called for a robust guaranteed income to bring all Americans to the median income in his 1967 book “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?”   These calls, particularly those from the NWRO, were not simply pie-in-the-sky idealism, but rather a specific solution to address the growing gaps in a rapidly expanding welfare system. Often, these gaps were explained away with the demonizing, racist logic of white supremacy and social darwinism. Today, policymakers, public commentators and economic “experts” too often use these logics to deride undervalued communities as deserving of the conditions of poverty and dismiss unconditional aid as a handout that discourages work. These conclusions have always had scant evidence. As guaranteed income demonstrations continue to build evidence that unconditional, direct investments are a key component of building a more equitable and just economic system, it is worth remembering the origin of these ideas as key Civil Rights issues.