A Canada charity gave $7,500 to homeless people, here’s what happened
A group of 50 homeless people in Canada were given $ 7,500 each to see how they would spend it
A Canadian project examining the effects of direct lending to the homeless told the CBC on Thursday that its results were "beautifully surprising".
The New Leaf Project, a program run by Foundations for Social Change, a Vancouver-based charity, began in 2018, giving a group of homeless people on the lower mainland a cash payment of $ 7,500 each. They then compared the spending of this group of 50 over a year with a control group of 65 homeless people who had not received any payments.
The results, Claire Williams, CEO of Foundations for Social Change, told the CBC, pushed against the assumption that it is bad to give money directly to the homeless because they cannot be trusted to use it well.
"It challenges stereotypes we have here in the West about how we can help people who live on the fringes," she said.
According to their recently published results, the group that was homeless fewer days than the others moved to stable housing in an average of three months, and nearly 70 percent of them became food safe after a month.
The people who received the payments tended to spend them on the bare minimums: on average, they spent 52 percent of the money on food and rent, 15 percent on other items like bills and medicines, and 16 percent on clothing and transportation. Spending on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs also fell by an average of 39 percent.
"This is not just a gesture of help," says the foundation's white paper on its results. "It is a signal that society believes in them."
It's also a way to potentially cut the cost of government services designed to help the homeless, according to New Leaf. Canada spends an average of $ 55,000 per person on social services for the homeless, according to Williams. Direct money transfers can save $ 8100 per person.
Ray, a participant in the program, whose name has been kept partially confidential, said the money helped him get back on his feet and take a computer training course that would help him achieve his goal of becoming a homeless drug abuse counselor to be, to come closer.
"The balance New Leaf has given me has basically given me the stepping stone," he said in a video release of the program. "I want to give back somehow where I come from."
In recent years, direct cash payments have grown in importance as a potential way of tackling growing inequality. Cities like Stockton, Calif. And Jackson, Mississippi, have their own pilot cash-backed programs with similar results. This form of intervention has also established itself in other parts of the world such as Mexico, Syria, Kenya and Malawi.
Others fear that the craze for such programs, especially in Silicon Valley, could lead to the replacement of necessary government services like housing and education.
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