In the first few months of 2021, RBAC, in partnership with Urban Fam and Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, had the opportunity to work on the Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) research project. It started off with a bunch of researching, planning, and meetings. In this study, potential participants could apply for a monthly stipend of $1,000 for them or their families by agreeing to a series of surveys and monthly feedback so that we could collect data on the outcomes. We were able to support 5 families through this project.
Danielle Jackson, Project Specialist, implemented a yearly calendar to provide them with economic development videos and resources that would assist them to establish financial stability. “What I didn’t know is that helping them would also help me look at my own finances and follow the same steps I was sharing with the participants. It was much harder for me because I didn’t have the stipend to help but applying the same principles work if you want financial freedom badly enough,” said Danielle of the process.
The most rewarding thing for her was watching these participants gain financial freedom from debt, being able to remain in their housing, food security, entrepreneurship, travel to see family, pay for medication, purchase and/or repair vehicles, small investments and put some in savings. The videos provided advice and lessons on how to set financial goals, budget, stress reduction, emergency disasters, building credit score, train your mind to make more money, how to be good stewards with money, steps out of poverty and lessons that rich people tell their kids about money. “We have become friends through phone calls, working at community events, personal conversations about their future, and the hope that they have moved forward to financial freedom,” she said.
The following testimonials are from the actual participants in this research project:
“The GBI project has helped my family in many ways. I have been able to have money for rent. In the recent months before applying and getting approved of the GBI project, we were relying on government aid that was not coming through, meaning, we were told we would be able to get benefits and haven’t heard from the program since then. Me and my family are grateful to have received funding from the GBI project, and hope other families will benefit from it as well. We are appreciative that our community members are trying to support Rainier Beach families as much as possible. We are extremely grateful.”
“At the beginning of 2021, I had just moved into my very first apartment while the world had just been hit with the COVID 19 crisis. Not only was I in serious need of money, but I also needed skills and resources to continue to grow as a young adult on my own. The GBI program has been a true lifesaver with these payments. I started out the year not sure if I was going to be able to have a full pantry, and now thanks to the GBI program I’m out of serious debt and am on track to pursue larger life and career goals to be a healthier and financially stable person.”
“Receiving the GBI grant these past 8 months have been life-changing. Prior to receiving the funds, I was a struggling full-time college student without a source of income. This grant has provided me with funds to pay for all my materials needed for school as well as for my monthly necessities (food and toiletries). Not only did this program help me financially but the monthly videos have taught me critical things that I will use for the rest of my life.”
“I was able to build lots of memories with my family. We were able to get out and eat dinner as a family which never happened before. I was able to get my whole family school supplies such as clothes, shoes and more. Also paying my Rent. Furthermore, I was able to bless Other people that were indeed. This program has taught me that it is important to learn how to budget and have emergency savings. Because there will come a time when we’re not able to call the fire department or other resources for help. I also learn about “how we can build generational wealth”. Raising nine kids is not easy, especially when you’re not financially stable. It comes with a lot of stress and frustration. But this year I was able to take care of myself and my family . We are extremely grateful for these funds.”
“It has certainly been a positive experience first, giving me a sense of security, and second, the down time from worrying about how I would make ends meet by providing a financial cushion. It’s been comforting. GBI has allowed me to save, to rethink how I save and what’s important, meaning, what I need versus what I want. It gave me a method on how to manage my money through monthly videos. They were very helpful. Thank you for choosing me for this program. it’s well worth its weight in gold.”