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Answering your questions regarding the SEED Project in Stockton

A pair of independent researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Tennessee are leading the recipient selection process and evaluation for SEED.

Since the announcement earlier this week regarding Mayor Michael Tubbs' Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration [SEED] Project, there have been several questions.

First, here is the project in a nutshell:

  • The project is also known as Guaranteed Income or Universal Basic Income (UBI). According to the SEED website, it is a "system of widely distributed, regular, unconditional cash stipends."
  • One thousands mailers or "invitations" will be sent out in November 2018 to addresses where the median household is $46,033 or less. One hundred people will be selected to receive $500 a month for 18 months. The mailers will be sent out randomly and people will be selected randomly from the mailers returned.

A pair of independent researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Tennessee are leading the recipient selection process and evaluation for SEED.

"They will put them into a statistical software program and then literally, kind of shuffle them up, mix them up, almost as if it's a lottery," says Lori Ospina, director of SEED.

The $1.5 million to be distributed all comes from donations. No tax money is being used. Also, SEED wants to make it clear no one needs to apply.

"For the process we selected, there will not be a sign-up process," Ospina said. "We will actually be contacting households and residences who might qualify."

The money will be distributed beginning in February 2019.

Q: Who will do the selecting?

A: Two university professors. To qualify, you have to be at least 18 years old and must occupy a residence within the city.

Q: Will you need to apply?

There is no application process.

Q: Why not send money to different families each month?

"By designating the money to one recipient for an extended amount of time, we're really hoping to smooth out the persistent volatility that households experience financially," Ospina said.

Q: Once these families have gotten accustomed to the extra money, what happens when the experiment ends?

"Ideally, we would love to see it run longer, but just given the financial constraints, we're starting small with what we can accomplish," Ospina said. "And, we'll just do our best to be really transparent with households so that they know that this benefit is only for a designated, limited amount of time."

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