Many may think that giving cash to the homeless is not the best way to help them. It is wasted on vanities or destructive things.
In Canada, it was decided to test this. Charities Foundations for Social Change and the University of British Columbia in a joint project 50 people who were recently homeless were handed C $ 7,500, about € 5,000.
The lives of the cash wholesale recipients were followed for 12-18 months. They were compared to a control group that did not receive money.
Risks were taken in the test
Score are still preliminary and have not been peer reviewed, but the picture is clear. Those who received cash found a permanent home on average faster. Those who had not received a wholesale charge of C $ 7,500 received a permanent home about 12 months later.
Those who received the money were also in better condition, they had received food regularly. They spent significantly more money on food, clothing, and rent than the comparison group. Instead, the amount of money spent on alcohol, tobacco and drugs, for example, fell sharply.
– The number of homeless people is growing all the time and we have treated them in the same way for a long time. We believe it is important to take risks, to test new practices in order to bring about social change, says the director of Foundations for Social Change Claire Williams CNNto.
Preconceptions were shattered
The experiment involved 115 people who were randomly assigned to the experimental and control groups. They ranged in age from 19 to 64 years. They had been homeless for an average of six months before the start of the experiment.
– Most people who received cash knew immediately where they were going to spend the money. It was pretty much against prejudice, Williams says.
Some spent the money getting an apartment right away. Someone bought a bike or repaired their car so they could keep their jobs. Some bought a computer. Among the founders of a small company were.
Can break the thread
According to Williams, giving cash to the recently homeless is not a magic wand to solve all homelessness.
– But when they receive meaningful help, it increases the likelihood that they will not be left in the spiral of homelessness.
The study showed that giving cash to the homeless ultimately also saved taxpayers money significantly.
– The fact that we do nothing is really not free, says Williams.
The Canadian central government was involved in funding the test.