Stories from participants

Storytellers are a diverse group of pilot participants who have volunteered to share their personal experiences in the program for a public audience. Spending data tells part of the story. But some of the most important stories are not in the numbers. Participant testimonies bring a diversity of lived experiences to the forefront of the conversation. The difficulties, challenges, and solutions they share help make sense of the data and are effective tools of narrative change.

Crystal

Atlanta, GA

September 26, 2022

Crystal has been in Atlanta for years and has a master’s in psychology. When she was first approached about the program she initially turned it down because of her pride, and as a social worker she figured she could find her own resources.

Deontrez

Atlanta, GA

September 26, 2022

Deontrez is a 23-year-old father of a 1-year-old daughter. When he first applied for the program, he had just finished college and didn’t like how things were going financially and needed a change.

Halimah

Atlanta, GA

September 26, 2022

Halimah is a single mother to a teenage boy and a daughter. When she first signed up for the program, she was struggling to make ends meet.

Latrice

Atlanta, GA

September 26, 2022

Latrice is a single mother of three daughters. When she first applied for the IMPACT program, it was in the middle of COVID and they were shutting things down at her job so she was already struggling with how bills would get paid.

Raya

Atlanta, GA

September 26, 2022

Raya is a single mother to one daughter and a lifelong Atlantan. When Raya applied for the IMPACT program, she was working but still struggling to keep up with her bills and had to borrow funds from family and friends.

Miyah

Birmingham, AL

September 26, 2022

Miyah is a single mother of three. Her youngest child was born in August of 2022 and Miyah is currently balancing being a mother of an infant again, while still maintaining care for her two older children.

Torry

Durham, NC

September 26, 2022

Torry has been through tough times, in and out of jail, homeless, and even sleeping on benches at one point. The guaranteed income, with no strings attached, has completely changed his life. He says StepUp Durham has been a blessing.

Tydricka

Durham, NC

September 26, 2022

Tydricka is a mom with a full-time job as a peer support specialist. She was released from prison in 2019, and hopes a guaranteed income gives people like herself a nudge in the right direction.

Tyler

Durham, NC

September 26, 2022

Tyler spent time in jail and prison on drug charges, and it was not always easy to readjust to society.

Calvin

Gainesville, FL

September 26, 2022

One of seven siblings, Calvin was born at Joe DiMaggio Hospital in Hollywood, FL. A high school graduate who went on to college, he is a renowned athlete and a military veteran.

Murray

Gainesville, FL

September 26, 2022

Murray is proud to have been born and raised in Gainesville, FL. After finishing high school, and struggling in a low-income environment, he had his first interaction with the justice system. The burden of a criminal record made it harder to make ends meet.

Izzy

Gainesville, FL

September 26, 2022

Originally from Upstate New York, Izzy is a longtime resident of Gainesville, FL. An accomplished musician, stylist, and athlete, Izzy is deeply rooted in the community.

"T" (anonymous)

Gainesville, FL

September 26, 2022

T is a long-time resident of Alachua County, FL. An avid animal lover, they are also a proud parent of two sons - one in the military and the other at home with special needs.

Antonio

Los Angeles, CA

September 26, 2022

Antonio and his wife fell behind on bills when the fabric store Antonio worked at closed and they both contracted COVID.

Ashley

Los Angeles, CA

September 26, 2022

Before the pandemic, Ashley worked in marketing and attended cosmetology school, managing flexible hours so that she could care for her son as a single mother.

Micaela

Los Angeles, CA

September 26, 2022

Micaela is a single mother from Jalisco, Mexico who has been living in South Central Los Angeles for 20 years where she has two sons in college.

Twonna

Los Angeles, CA

September 26, 2022

Twonna is a single mother with a two-year old son.

Anonymous

New Orleans, LA

September 26, 2022

Anonymous is the middle child of seven and is originally from Harvey, Louisiana. She is a part-time student and hoping to use guaranteed income payments to help graduate with a funeral service degree.

Symphony

New Orleans, LA

September 26, 2022

In addition to buying essentials for her family, being a part of the program has helped Symphony connect with other great resources.

Laurin

New Orleans, LA

September 26, 2022

Laurin is a 22-year-old resident and program participant who lives in New Orleans East with her 10-month old child. She hopes to use the payments to help pay for cosmetology school.

Susan

New York City, NY

September 26, 2022

Susan is the mother of a 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter. She is originally from Lagos, Nigeria, where she obtained her master’s degree before moving to New York City.

Christina

New York City, NY

September 26, 2022

Christina is a single mother of a baby boy and an 11-year-old son who has autism. She is about to begin classes to become a Certified Nursing Assistant with the dream of becoming a Registered Nurse.

Tynisha

New York City, NY

September 26, 2022

Tynisha is a student and the mother of an infant son. Prior to the pandemic, she worked with autistic children. She has utilized public benefits programs in the past, but found them time-consuming and difficult.

Lisa

New York City, NY

September 26, 2022

Lisa has a two-month-old daughter who dealt with complications during labor and delivery. She has used The Bridge Project to cover the transportation to get her baby to her doctor’s appointments.

Lucy

New York City, NY

September 26, 2022

Lucy is the mother of a one-year-old daughter and is expecting a second baby in October 2022. She has not worked since the pandemic began, out of concern for her pregnancy when she had to leave her 60-70 hour per week job as a manager.

Shamonique

Newark, NJ

September 26, 2022

Shamonique is a 33-year-old mother, mentor, education advocate and a community organizer. Prior to the pandemic, she was diagnosed with a seizure disorder and early multiple sclerosis.

Alisha

Oakland, CA

September 26, 2022

Alisha is an Oakland native who lives in Deep East Oakland where she raises her 8-year-old grandson, whom she legally adopted when he was eight months old.

Imani

Oakland, CA

September 26, 2022

Imani is a single mother who worked as a desk clerk and lives in a family shelter. She uses her guaranteed income funds to get her 5-year-old son to and from school, while also keeping food on their plates.

Karina

Oakland, CA

September 26, 2022

Karina is an Oakland mom of three who moved to the city from Honduras 13 years ago.

Terran

Oakland, CA

September 26, 2022

Karina is an Oakland mom of three who moved to the city from Honduras 13 years ago.

Tiffany

Oakland, CA

September 26, 2022

Tiffany is a single mom of five children living in Oakland. She is a passionate advocate for improving childhood education.

Cynthia

Paterson, NJ

September 26, 2022

Cynthia is a senior citizen in Paterson.

Brandi

Providence, RI

September 26, 2022

Brandi is a mother living in Providence who has struggled with homelessness for around 30 years. Most recently, Brandi was living in a temporary shelter when she finally was approved for a section 8 voucher.

Lititia

Providence, RI

September 26, 2022

“This program has helped me in my family and in so many ways. I finally felt like someone cared. I have a steady income because of this pilot program and I want to say thank you to everyone who is helping those of us in poverty, helping us to get back on track and let us know there are people that still care. I would like to see this program for each and every Rhode Islander, and if they can take it out around the world I would like for everyone to get a chance at this program. It has helped my family put food on the table and gas in my vehicle.”

Kelvin

San Diego, CA

September 26, 2022

Kelvin is a father of three beautiful daughters, ages 15 ,13, and 2. He lives in Encanto, a San Diego community that has faced systemic disinvestment.

Raquel

Santa Fe, NM

September 26, 2022

Raquel is a single parent of a young son. She is working towards an associate degree in criminal justice at Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) and has been a part of the Santa Fe LEAP since September 2021.

Aimee

Shreveport, LA

September 26, 2022

Aimee is a single mother of two children and works at a pediatric clinic.

Lakendra

Shreveport, LA

September 26, 2022

Lakendra is a single mother of three school age children.

Renodia

Shreveport, LA

September 26, 2022

Renodia is a single mother of a three-year-old and aspiring college student who has used the funds in part to pay off debts and increase her financial literacy.

Samantha & Max

St. Paul, MN (PPP)

September 26, 2022

Samantha and Max are a married couple with four children. During the pandemic, Max lost his income and medical bills were piling up for their infant daughter born with a heart condition.

DejaJoelle

St. Paul, MN (Springboard)

September 26, 2022

DejaJoelle is a healing artist and cultural healing curator who was born and raised in the Rondo neighborhood of Saint Paul.

Briauna

St. Paul, MN (Springboard)

September 26, 2022

Artist Briauna created a coloring book to commemorate Saint Paul’s guaranteed income pilot that includes illustrations, self-care suggestions and a prosperity word find.

Kashimana

St. Paul, MN (Springboard)

September 26, 2022

Originally from Nigeria, musician Kashimana created an album inspired by the city’s guaranteed income pilot.

Katey

St. Paul, MN (Springboard)

September 26, 2022

Katey is a storyteller who created a physical postcard to be distributed around Saint Paul that featured a QR code linking to interviews with guaranteed income recipients.

Monica

Tacoma, WA

September 26, 2022

Monica and her 16-year-old daughter are relatively new to Tacoma. They moved to the Pacific Northwest after incurring loss, violence, and financial uncertainty while living in the South.

Geno

Tacoma, WA

September 26, 2022

Geno is a single father in Tacoma raising three boys. He works as a technology consultant for a small company and sustains his household paycheck-to-paycheck.

Stephanie

Tacoma, WA

September 26, 2022

Stephanie is a single mother in Tacoma, recently a grandmother, and a survivor of an unsafe relationship.

Anonymous

Tacoma, WA

September 26, 2022

This GRIT participant and parent to two middle and one high school aged children speaks to the mental relief that comes with receiving a guaranteed income.

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