Vancouver New Leaf Project Study Shows One-Time Direct Cash Transfers Positively Impact Homeless

James faced the challenges and frustrations of being homeless in Vancouver, Canada—including pandemic disruptions—but he has found housing and started a more permanent job.  A new study by the New Leaf Project found financial self determination opens up doors to positive opportunities from which individuals are empowered to choose (photo: Foundations for Social Change).

By Rich Weiss & Jeneane Vanderhoff

This story was sponsored by the Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative (NEOSOJO), which is composed of 20-plus Northeast Ohio news outlets including The West Park Times, The Cleveland Street Chronicle, and The Tremonster, each of which contributed significantly to this report.

Thousands of people experience homelessness in Cleveland and Akron every year. But what if these people were given money? Money that they could use to dig their way out of poverty and turn a new leaf?

When the Poverty and Homelessness Beat Reporter for The Tremonster, Jeneane Vanderhoff (currently experiencing homelessness along with her husband, Adam), was considering reporting on any existing solution that might help alleviate the problem of homelessness in Northeast Ohio, she said, “I read a study—I think it was Canada—they just recently gave homeless people $7,500 and saw how the people spent it.  It basically got them out of homelessness.  It did quite a bit to turn their lives around; they really didn’t waste the money—it’s a recent study.”

Our research led us to The New Leaf project in Vancouver, Canada, which recently published the study Vanderhoff had noticed.  The Vancouver-based project demonstrated that money from one-time cash transfers was spent wisely and provided stability in the lives of individuals recently experiencing homelessness.

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