In Testing Large-Scale Policy Projects, Nonprofits Walk a Fine Line

SEAN WATTERSON | February 05, 2018

In Testing Large-Scale Policy Projects, Nonprofits Walk a Fine Line
Two nonprofits are set to begin a pilot test of universal basic income (UBI) in Stockton, California. The program will provide, through the City of Stockton, $500 per month to some of the city’s poorest residents, no strings attached. The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) is accepting letters of intent to research and share stories of the impact of UBI on the Stockton community. Stockton is a city of around 300,000 whose residents have felt the impact of Silicon Valley’s perpetual sprawl. San Joaquin County unemployment is above the national average, and its per capita income is just over $40,000 with a higher than average cost of living. The growth in housing needs for Silicon Valley’s ever-growing workforce is cited as the primary driving force behind economic turmoil for low-skilled workers in the area. The goal of the UBI program is to provide relief for Stockton residents who might feel the squeeze from stagnant wages and increasing costs of living that come with a burgeoning population. The program will run for six to nine months, and its results should follow closely behind. Advocates for UBI, including the program’s funders the Economic Security Project and the Goldhirsch Foundation hope the project will show enough promise to convince other municipalities or even states to launch UBI programs of their own.

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