Canada: research project gave homeless people $7,500 each, results encouraging (CBC, 9 October 2020)

  • A B.C. research project gave homeless people $7,500 each — the results were 'beautifully surprising'

  • By Bridgette Watson. Published by CBC on October 9, 2020.

  • Summary:

    • A Vancouver-based research project gave homeless individuals $7,500 and then monitored the progress of 50 participants in the program for a year.

    • All 115 participants in the experiment, ranging in age between 19 and 64, had been homeless for at least six months and were not struggling with serious substance use or mental health issues. Of those, 50 people were chosen at random to be given the cash, while the others formed a control group that did not receive any money.

    • The subjects of the experiment that received the money stimulus found stable housing within a year, “freed up space in shelters and, according to project data, saved the shelter system $8,100 per person over those 12 months.”

    • On average, cash recipients spent 52 per cent of their money on food and rent, 15 per cent on other items such as medications and bills, and 16 per cent on clothes and transportation.

    • Almost 70 per cent of people who received the payments were food secure after one month. In comparison, spending on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs went down, on average, by 39 per cent.

    • The research - The New Leaf project - is a joint study started in 2018 by Foundations for Social Change, a Vancouver-based charitable organization, and the University of British Columbia.

    • According to one researcher, the results of this experiment could challenge stereotypes about people "living on the margins."

    • You’ll also find more information about the methodology and the impact of the New Leaf Project here: https://forsocialchange.org/impact

  • Keywords: homeless, homelessness, Canada, Vancouver, housing