Stockton Hoping ‘Guaranteed Income’ Program Will Help its Residents

STOCKTON -- The city of Stockton is exploring how a guaranteed income could help its residents.

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs says the groundbreaking pilot program will offer select families $500 a month -- no strings attached.

Each step Alex Lisitsin takes is a painful miracle because about a decade ago he says a drunk driver crashed into his car almost killing him.

It’s also left him financially strapped.

“Before I got in my accident, I was OK,” Lisitsin said.

The Stockton grandfather says with $500 more a month he dreams of the simple things.

“To get things going for myself,” he said.

Lisitsin is like so many trying to make ends meet in the city of Stockton.

The city says 25 percent of its residents live below the poverty line.

But Tubbs just announced a new pilot program called Stockton’s Economic Empowerment Demonstration, or SEED, which will hopefully improve the quality of life by providing select families $500 a month.

“Gonna position Stockton as a national leader, that’s a community on the cutting edge, figuring out how do you help working folk get ahead,” Tubbs said.

The cash will come with no strings attached — no oversight.

“The cost of living is just so high, so they could use that money to help benefit them,” said Virginia Gorman, founder of STAND.

The mayor says the program will get its initial funding from private sources.

“One million dollars in philanthropic dollars, so it’s not taxpayer money, percolating into the community allowing people to pay for rent and to buy school clothes," Tubbs said.

For Lisitsin — who depends on disability and social security to stay financially afloat, this would be a tremendous help — a step he says that would help him feel like his old self.

The mayor hopes to launch the program by next August. Right now they’re figuring out just how many people they’ll help and what the requirements will be in order to qualify.