STOCKTON, Calif. (KCRA) —$500 a month with no strings attached. More than 100 Stockton residents are getting just that as part of the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, or SEED, Guaranteed Income Program.
“Raising my kids as a single mom was hard,” said recipient Lorine Paradela.
Paradela said she is a raising a 9-year-old and 15-year-old on her own and working two jobs to make ends meet. She works with children who are autistic.
“I go to work in the morning, early morning, and then get off at 9:30 and start my other job around 2:30,”said Paradela.
But for the past four months, life has been easier. She has been receiving $500 a month as part of the program. The extra money has brought her peace.
“I used to stress. Even though I’d pay my bills and rent, I would have to think about the next month and stress if I had the money,”
“I can breathe better. I can breathe,” Paradela added.
The guaranteed income program was introduced to Stockton by Mayor Michael Tubbs. He says he was searching for ways to alleviate poverty and received $3 million of private donations for the program.
“People are on edge, not because they are making bad economic choices, but because the current economic system is not working for the working poor,” said Tubbs.
No tax dollars are being used for the program.
There is also a controlled group that does not receive the monthly income and the study will compare both groups at the end of an 18-month period.
“Investing in people is a smart investment,” Tubbs added. “I’m excited hearing from mayors, even presidential candidates, who are interested in figuring out how to make sure that people who are working incredibly hard, working two jobs like (Paradela), are able to pay for necessities like shelter.”
The program randomly sent 1,000 applications to people who live in neighborhoods that average less than $46,000 a year.
One-hundred thirty people were selected. Recipients are guaranteed to receive the money every month for the next 18 months.
KCRA asked Tubbs what he says to skeptics who say people could blow the $500 a month.
“The vast majority of us make rational decisions with the resources we have. Some would argue that some people make bad decisions because of economic anxiety, because (they’re) anxious trying to figure out how to make it to the next day,” said Tubbs.
As for Paradela, she said she is going to save to get a new reliable car to get to work and is planning on going to back to college.