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Young & Broke But Not Dumb

Updated: Oct 26, 2018

Alex Pov: Feel happy…Feel happy because I’ll be able to fix my car and have a ride to school

Jakob Dominguez: If anything, I think I’ll just pay of my school (loans).

Eduardo Estrada: But then another part of me think that they’ll waste it on material items and not put it to good use.

Kiki: Hi, my name is Kiki and I will be your host for this episode of KWDC’s weekly radio show/podcast. This podcast is dedicated to discussing economic insecurity in our community.

This is the first episode of our fall 2018 semester. We have just heard clips from different Delta College students who have interviewed other students to find out how an extra 500.00 a month would affect them. This episode is called Young and Broke but not Dumb. It’s sort of a play on a song by Khalid called Young, Dumb and Broke. ( cue song) We came up with this because as you heard, the students replies are anything but dumb. They are decidedly responsible. Nonetheless lots of us are young and broke.That’s why the idea of an extra 500.00 dollars is interesting to most college students. Here at Delta College, the Radio and Television students are collecting audio stories for SEED as part of our coursework this fall. We’ve been hearing a lot about SEED but What is SEED? People may have heard about it the news and have some ideas but to find out, we asked some students on campus to get their perspective.

Kevin Yang: How would you feel if you had an extra $500?

Alex Pov: Feel happy…Feel happy because I’ll be able to fix my car and have a ride to school

Kevin Yang: So how about if you were to have it every month?

Alex Pov: Even better! Way better dude!

Kevin Yang:So what would you do with that money?

Alex Pov: Uhm I don’t even know! Probably pay some bills honestly!

Jakob Dominguez: If anything, I think I’ll just pay of my school (loans). Probably for some housing or something because I’m planning for this to be my last year at Delta so I need to start planning on the future and everything. And probably buy a new car to help me along with the process because I have an old car too!

Kiki: And to get the official answer we invited Lori Ospina the director of seed

Lori Ospina: SEED is the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration. It is the first time that a city has tested out the idea of a guaranteed income so it is a ‘guaranteed income initiative’. For those who aren’t familiar with guaranteed income another way that it’s referred to is basic income or universal basic income or unconditional income. And the idea is to basically that payments are made to all residents of an area or some of the residents of an area on a recurring basis to ensure what we refer to as ‘income minimum’ or ’income floor’ so that people can count on a set amount coming in each month. What we ultimately decided was that we would pick about 100 people at least. We may be able to go slightly over that but at a minimum 100 people and they’ll recieve $500 a month over an 18-month period.

Kiki: Next, we asked students how they thought SEED would effect Stockton.

Max: I think it’s a good idea on paper but of course the whole point of it is to see what will these people do with this extra $500 a month. In my opinion, I’m sort of mixed on that. There’s part of me that thinks that people will use for ‘good’ and conserve it and save it over time, use it for beneficial things that would benefit them. And maybe even benefit the community. But then another part of me thinks that maybe they’ll just waste it on material items and things like that. Just not put it to a good use.

Kiki: Here, we have project director Lori’s insight on her hopes of how SEED will affect Stockton’s future.

Lori Ospina: So many people say when we ask the question “what would an extra $500 do for you?” - I can’t tell you how many times and in different languages that it comes back that give them some space to breathe. I think it’s that absence of feeling that people have the resources or that safety-net to breathe is a real tragedy right now and one that we hope SEED will begin to address. But it’s particularly exciting for Stockton given Stockton’s history of challenges. You know, it’s no mystery to anyone who knows Stockton that it’s had a difficult past with housing, foreclosure, the bankruptcy, violence and other challenges that have plagued the city over time.

But I think that the city is in an exciting moment where everyone is looking forward in how they can rewrite Stockton’s future to make to make it a more promising future. I think that the world sees SEED as an example of Stockton innovating and being a leader and carrying about its people, trying out new solutions.

Kiki: Economic insecurity affects many demographics but one that most people might not consider is college students. The facts about how college students struggle financially can be startling:

In the article More than a third of college students go hungry by Anne Stych, Anne notes that the Wisconsin Hope Lab study found students from low-income homes will skip meals in order to pay for school and the supplies needed to be successful. And quote: “The inability to eat properly may decrease a student's ability to concentrate resulting in an impact on their grades.” end quote.

Unfortunately, the sacrifice to skip meals to save money can just put students into a cycle of hunger and academic struggle.

Kiki:So what is the next step if SEED proves successful? We asked Lori about what are the future goals of the SEED project.

Lori Ospina: I’m not sure what the next step is! SEED might be just an 18 month demonstration that produces some compelling research and stories. I’m not able to say that this will suddenly become the law of the land for the city of Stockton or the state of California. I think that in order for programs like this succeed, we would need to develop funding mechanisms outside of the city and that would require national or state-level support at a minimum. One year ago when we started talking about basic income for Stockton , before I was even part of the conversation quite frankly, I think that people thought that the idea was far fetched, not realistic, not possible. And I think as a city that conversation has evolved a lot. I’m so thrilled to have your team (StoryTillers of SJDC) involved in the project and your fellow students engaging with the community and having these conversations. I think the more that happens we can really push more people’s thinking around things like this (SEED) or at least push people to examine why the current system isn’t working regardless of what the ultimate solution for that is. Igniting the conversation, drawing awareness, and then humanizing the experiences of the people: both who receive the basic income and also those who don’t. How are some of the assumptions of poverty and inequality flawed? What do they fail to take in account? What do they fail to consider? And I hope that the stories that come out of SEED and the research that comes out of SEED we can poke holes in some of those assumptions.

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