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Ending Homelessness Through Direct Cash Transfers, with UBC Professor Dr. Jiaying Zhao

Welcome to the Track & Food podcast. Host Jamie Mah is a writer, bartender and sommelier in beautiful Vancouver, BC. Join him as he takes a deep dive into everything food and culture happening in the city and around the globe.

In 2018, Vancouver non-profit, Foundations for Social Change, along with researchers from UBC, set out to do a small experiment: a one-year trial where they gave a lump sum of $7,500 cash, no strings attached, directly to people experiencing homelessness, to see whether the direct cash method would provide them with a leg up finding stable housing, or if they would instead spend it on temptation goods (drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.). Several local shelters were enlisted to help them find suitable candidates for their study, which was led by Dr. Jiaying Zhao (PhD, Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair, UBC). The results – published only a few weeks ago – shed light on how the homeless actually spend their money, while also providing clues for what they need to succeed moving forward.

For further reading on this study, check out the links below:

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

A Canadian study gave $7,500 to homeless people. Here’s how they spent it.Vox

A Study Showed Giving Money to Homeless People Changes Lives. What’s Next?The Tyee

There are 2 comments

  1. It’s worth noting that the study screened out people who were chronically homeless or experience higher severity of substance use, alcohol use, or had psychiatric symptoms. The study does a good job of noting this important restriction, but it’s absent from much of the media reporting (including this reporting).

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