Pathway to Income Equity

First 5 Sonoma County is honored to lead Sonoma County’s Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot program. This program is funded by the County of Sonoma, City of Healdsburg, City of Petaluma, and City of Santa Rosa American Rescue Plan Act dollars and private investments from Corazón Healdsburg and operated in partnership with community organizations around the county.

The pilot program aims to alleviate financial stressors felt by pregnant and parenting families with young children in Sonoma County, particularly those low-income and BIPOC families who were already vulnerable or marginalized prior to the pandemic.

Research from other pilots around the country have shown increases in financial stability and full-time employment and reduction of anxiety and depression. With this investment in households with pregnant individuals and children under six, together we can help ensure that Sonoma County children are learning and growing in stable environments. 

The Pathway to Income Equity program will award 305 randomly selected qualifying Sonoma County residents $500 a month for 2 years. This cash assistance is unrestricted COVID Disaster Relief and it is not taxable income.

Application period for this program is CLOSED.


Program Eligibility

Application Assistance Sites


Eligibility for this program is a gross household income (before taxes) of 185% or less of the federal poverty line. This number depends on how many individuals are in your household/family unit. For example, a household of 3 must have a gross monthly income of $3,551 or less, or a gross annual income of $42,606 or less.

Household/ Family Size



Twice Monthly

































Each additional family member add






Many people lost jobs, income, childcare and housing for reasons related to COVID-19, directly or indirectly due to one or a combination of factors, such as illness caused by the virus, illness of a family member, slow down of the local economy causing businesses to lay off workers and many other “ripple effects”. The application will allow you to select one of the following three options to indicate the impact that COVID-19 had on your household. If any of these apply to your household, then you are “impacted by COVID-19” and eligible.

  • “I lost my job because of COVID-19”
  • “I lost some or all of my income (missed work, no child care available, caring for someone with COVID) because of COVID-19”
  • “I have been evicted or lost my housing because of COVID-19”
If you choose, you can participate in surveys and interviews. Many people do not understand what it is really like to live in Sonoma County on $42,000 or less. By sharing your story and how this $500 helps your household, you can raise awareness and hopefully bring more programs like this into Sonoma County. But it will be your choice to participate in any surveys and interviews, and if you do, you will get an extra stipend for your time (in addition to the monthly $500).
The money will be distributed through a nonprofit platform used by other guaranteed basic income programs that will not share your personal information beyond the agencies running the program. Application Assistance Sites have all signed confidentiality agreements to keep your personal information confidential while they provide help to households like yours. Evaluation of the program will not share any personally identifying information.
Local partners are aware of this pilot and that this cash is considered a COVID Disaster Relief Gift. Because cash will be received monthly, some of your public benefits could be impacted by these cash payments. Households are encouraged to apply and if selected, will have access to a calculator at enrollment to see estimated impact on public benefits and make a decision about whether they still want to participate and receive the $500 monthly. Selected households will be provided with helpful documentation to show eligibility workers that provides details of the program and offers contact information they can call to provide more information and answer questions. First 5 Sonoma County is in the process of confirming an exemption for TANF and CalFresh, but the exemption is not yet confirmed.

There is a fund to help cover the gap in benefits that these payments could create so that participating households can still have an increase in income by participating in the program.

Everyone who completes an application and meets the eligibility requirements: 1) a resident of Sonoma County 2) has a household income of 185% of the federal poverty level or less 3) has a child age 0-5 or is pregnant and 4) has been impacted by COVID-19 will be entered into a lottery. 305 applicants will be randomly selected to participate. If you are one of the selected households, you will be notified via a text or email that you provided during the application. You will be asked to submit documentation verifying your eligibility, only if you are selected for participation. Once all required verification is submitted and approved, you will choose your payment method and start receiving payments in January 2023.

If you are selected in the lottery, and you submit all required verification documents by thedeadline, you will be able to enroll in the Portal where you applied and choose your payment method. You can choose to receive the $500 monthly via a prepaid debit card, a directdeposit into a bank account, via PayPal, or via Venmo.

Application period for this program is closed.