A California city gave some residents $500 per month. It paid off.

As mayor, Tubbs spearheaded the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, a pilot program that gave 125 residents debit cards loaded with $500 each month. The program launched in February 2019 and ended in January.

Its critics argued that cash stipends would reduce the incentive for people to find jobs. But the SEED program met its goal of improving the quality of life of 125 residents struggling to make ends meet. To qualify for the pilot, residents had to live in a neighborhood where the median household income was the same as or lower than the city’s overall, about $46,000.

A new report from a team of independent researchers found that Stockton’s program reduced unemployment among participants during its first year and helped many of them pay off debt. The report studied the effects of the payments from February 2019 through February 2020. SEED participants also reported improvements in their emotional well-being and decreases in anxiety or depression.