One hundred students at the Santa Fe Community College who also have children to raise will receive $400 to $500 dollars a month this fall to help them do just that. KSFR’s Dennis Carroll talks with Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber about the National Mayors Guaranteed Income program, its goal of lifting struggling Americans out of poverty, and how it will be put to use in Santa Fe.
In Stockton, California, funds from the National Mayors Guaranteed Income program were used to provide payments to residents of poor neighborhoods. In Jackson, Mississippi, monies from the program are distributed to low-income African American mothers. And in St. Paul, Minnesota, the mayors program deposited $350,000 in college savings accounts for children born after January 1st, 2020– COVID babies, if you will.
Here in Santa Fe, Mayor Alan Webber says a half a million dollars, and if the mayor has his way, maybe even more will be used in a program designed to distribute $400 to $500 a month to 100 students at Santa Fe Community College who want to continue their schooling, but also have children to raise.
Mayor Webber recently talked about the origins of a national, privately funded Mayors Guaranteed Income Program. And the opportunities he says it offers to low-income citizens across the country, and particularly in Santa Fe, and he's hoping the national program will lead to an even bigger payday in Congress.
Mayor Alan Webber: You know, about seven or eight months ago now, I got notice of the Mayor's for Guaranteed Income Coalition. It's a group of mayors across the country. It started in Stockton with Mayor Tubbs and spread to cities around the country where the mayors are particularly committed to taking action, direct action, to deal with deeply entrenched issues of poverty or lack of earning opportunity, lack of educational opportunity. And I signed up as a mayor believing as I do that, we need to address this deep economic divide in our country. And then, after I had signed up, I learned that the founder of Twitter Jack Dorsey had put up a large amount of money for cities to take on pilot projects, using a guaranteed income as a way to test whether we could change the lives of individuals who were unable to get out of low-income situations, poverty situations, low educational attainment. We put together working with the community college, working with the community foundation, a proposal for Santa Fe to become a pilot city. Our staffs worked collaboratively trying to make sure that we met the requirements of the grant giver when it came to having a project that could be measured and tested and evaluated.
Officials at the Santa Fe Community College, for the candidates, will begin by drawing from an already existing program called: "Engaging Young Parents Under Age 30."
Emails will also be sent out and applicants can apply either on the college's webpage or the cities. But apparently, not both. Details on applying have yet to be worked out.
The SFCC official said applicants must have previously taken classes at the school and enroll for this coming fall. Participants will be selected at random. Success of the program will be measured in part by completion of academic programs and goals and surveys of the participating students. College officials and students will be asked about positive changes in their lives as a result of receiving the funds.
Weber says he has high hopes for the SFCC program, as well as the others around the country.
Mayor Alan Webber: We're not just trying to give away money. We're trying to change lives, number one. And number two, we're trying to demonstrate that this ought to be a national program that the federal government takes on going forward. We want to measure it, we want to evaluate it, and we want to argue the case that a guaranteed income for families that are needy is a life changing opportunity for the United States. We think Santa Fe can provide some important data.