The city of Stockton, Calif., which launched a universal basic income pilot program earlier this year, will listen to stories from a select group of recipients of the no-strings-attached cash by the end of April, adding tangible anecdotes to the national political conversation on income inequality ahead of 2020.
The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, a pilot program on universal basic income, launched in February, the Los Angeles Times reported. Over 100 residents from the city’s lower-income neighborhoods will be administered $500 a month via debit cards for the next year and a half. The money comes without any restrictions, such as requiring recipients to be employed or maintain sobriety.
Head of Stockton’s program, Sukhi Samra, told the Los Angeles Times that 25 participants dubbed “storytellers” will offer their experiences on how the extra monthly cash has contributed to their lives. While data from the program’s research findings won’t be available until 2021, Samra expects anecdotes to resonate more with voters who could hear the potential effects of their political decisions.
Stockton became the first to move ahead on a universal income pilot, as other U.S. cities, including Newark, NJ and Chicago, consider similar programs that would deal out monthly payments to struggling residents. Programs in Canada and Finland were scrapped for being unstainable.
Stockton received $1 million in initial funding for the $3.1 million program from the Silicon-Valley-based organization The Economic Security Project. Further research should reveal how basic income programs could be sustained by local or federal governments on a more permanent basic.
Fox News' Brook Singman contributed to this report.