Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia is proposing a new plan that would provide emergency financial support to artists who have been financially hurt by closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new program would be similar to an agreement the city approved earlier this year that provides up to $1,000 per month of rental assistance for qualifying Long Beach residents who lost income due to COVID-19.

City officials said its aim is to “lessen the economic inequality gap caused by the pandemic and to lay the groundwork for a pilot universal basic income program” planned for launch in 2021.

“We know that the arts have been one of the areas hardest hit by the pandemic,” Garcia said Tuesday, Nov. 10. “With events coming to a halt in March, there is no doubt that these workers are struggling. This new guaranteed income program would help our artists support their basic needs and make it through this difficult period.”

“Artists are a crucial part of our city’s economy, bringing color, culture and a vibrant spirit to Long Beach’s urban fabric. The city has

launched programs to support businesses, nonprofits, landlords, and tenants. This plan is a part of those efforts and opens the door for expanded guaranteed income programs in the future,” Garcia continued.

The proposal will be considered at the Nov. 17 Long Beach City Council meeting.