Homelessness is a very real issue all around the world.
In Canada, one organization decided that they would try something a bit unconventional to try and curb the homelessness issue.
According to an article from the Good News Network, “The New Leaf project took 115 homeless people who were confirmed not to have serious mental or substance abuse problems, and put $7,500 in the pockets of 50 of them to see if they could turn their life around.”
This approach may seem surprising to some people.
It’s a common belief that by giving money to a homeless person, you are just funding their alcohol or drug habits.
However, this study releveled very different results.
The results showed that “One entire year later, most recipients still had $1,000 in savings and 67% were could still feed themselves every day.”
With the average age of the participants in the study coming in at 42-years-old and 33% of them having kids, these results were good to see.
And not only that, but drug and alcohol sales actually went down.
“After a year of spending on what they judged to be important, average spending on alcohol or drugs went down by 39%, perhaps because the individuals recognized they had a real shot of turning their fortunes around.”
And in terms of getting these people off of the streets, the study found that it helped in that way as well.
“An impact report done by the Foundation for Charitable Giving found that recipients moved into housing two months faster than those who didn’t receive the $7,500 allowance.”
Some may not consider two months to be much of a difference, but have you ever spent two months living on the streets?
If so, then you probably understand how long two months actually is.
So how was this cash allowance spent?
The study revealed that after spreading the spending out for over a year, 52% of it went to food and rent, 15% went to transportation as well as medication, and there was an average of $700 being spent on one-time cash purchases–things like computers or bicycles.
Maybe the most surprising result of the study was that it ended up saving the state money in the long run.
The study revealed that “handing $7,500 to homeless people actually saved the state of British Columbia an average of $600 per person, compared to spending for a year of their emergency services.”
How was this possible?
Well, according to the impact report, “By spending fewer nights in shelters, the cash group saved the shelter system approximately $8,100 per person for a total of roughly $405,000 over one year. Factoring in the cost of the cash transfer, that’s a savings of $600 per person for society.”
The results of this study really are incredible.
It reminds us that just because people are homeless, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have the ability to turn their lives around.
Sometimes all that they need is a little help.
And by putting a little cash into their hand, they were able to get back on their feet and figure out a way to make things work in this difficult world.
So the next time that you see a homeless person, don’t just assume that they are beyond help–do what you can to help them and remember to be grateful for what you already have.
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