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CD-9 Welcomes Residents Applying for BIG:LEAP Program
By By Cora Jackson-Fossett, Staff Writer
Published November 4, 2021

Councilmember Curren Price, Jr. with Elvira Meadows, a resident of CD 9. (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

The field office of Councilmember Curren Price, Jr. (CD 9) proved popular to South L.A. residents, who lined up to apply for the BIG:LEAP – the Basic Income Guaranteed: Los Angeles Economic Assistance Program.

Through BIG:LEAP, 3,000 qualified recipients will get $1,000 per month starting the end of January 2022. The payments will be issued for 12 months with no-strings-attached or conditions on how the funds must be spent.

The only requirements are that applicants must live in the city of Los Angeles, be over 18-years-old, have at least one dependent, have income at or below 100% of the federal poverty line, and experienced economic and/or medical hardship due to COVID-19.  Judging from the number of folks in line, many people meet the stipulations.

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“The district I represent has high rates of poverty and high rates of homelessness. I wanted to identify a program that we could utilize to try to alleviate some of that. We know the program has been successful in other communities on a much smaller scale. I said I want to make that same kind of commitment in my district,” said Price.

People line up outside the CD 9 field office to apply for the BIG:LEAP program. (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

Initially, Councilman Price designated $6 million from his public safety fund with the plan of providing 500 families with $1,000 per month.  However, Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson (CD 8) and Council President Nury Martinez (CD 6) contributed funds along with Mayor Eric Garcetti, who allocated $30 million, making BIG:LEAP a citywide program endowed with a total of $40 million to aid families living in poverty.

According to Price, BIG:LEAP “is an important opportunity to see how effective this kind of program can be.  It will certainly benefit the individuals that are involved and their families, but it also will provide good data for the City as we reconfigure programs, figure out how we can assistance programs more effective, more innovative and more appropriate.”

Two local residents anticipated that the program would relieve some of their financial worries if they were deemed eligible to participate. Shamane Draper noted that the extra money would help her provide for her four-year-old son and two grandchildren.

“I would take care of my family and take care of bills. Because of COVID-19, it’s been a hardship for me and my family, so I would be really thankful if I am selected,” said Draper.

Councilman Price greets some of the people that are signing up for the program. From left are Alexis Barbre, Shamane Draper, Stephanie Thomas, and Lisa Lampkins (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

Lisa Lampkins shared comparable remarks, stating, “I’m the mother of five and it would really help us. I could catch up on my bills and be able to provide more for my family.”  Interested persons have until November Sunday, 7 to apply for BIG:LEAP. Applications can be submitted online at bigleap.lacity.org or in person at Price’s field office, 4301 S. Central Avenue in Los Angeles. The office hours during the application period are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The weekend hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Other sites in CD 9, including All Peoples Community Center, L.A. Trade-Tech College and Ascot, Junipero Serra, and Vermont Square Branch Libraries, will also accept applications. The locations will offer computers, Wi-Fi, and language support.

For more information about BIG:LEAP, call (323) 846-2651.

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