If someone gives you one hundred dollars, maybe you know exactly what you’d spend it on. But if you don’t have basic necessities, that one hundred dollars could be used for so much. It could be used for food or to help pay electricity bills, or it could even pay for basic shelter. That’s the idea behind Universal Basic Income, a program used in many cities, from those in the United States to countries like Finland. The program allows people to get a basic income, so they can use it for necessities and focus on working or making their lives better. When you don’t have to worry about food or housing, you’re more able to plan for your future, right?
The program in the town of Stockton, California was declared a success. How did they know? Researchers said that when the city tested the idea by giving families five hundred dollars per month with no rules on how to use it, job opportunities became easier and the families’ quality of life improved when they had money. Nice job, Stockton!
Now, the city of Oakland is undergoing the same experiment. This program is the largest so far, targeting almost six hundred families and is strictly to be used for Black, Indigenous, and people-of-color communities. What do you think this Oakland experiment will show us?