First global study on direct cash transfers shows promising results for recently homeless people



“When I found out that I had been accepted to receive the cash transfer, I was living in an emergency shelter, trying to find a way forward,” says Ray, a participant in Project New Leaf. “The money gave me the resources I needed to get out of the shelter and push for the social programs and the computer class I needed. It was a big stepping stone and it gave me a choice. It gave me a chance. ”

CEO of Foundations for Social Change, Claire Williams, wanted to show the viability of cash transfers for homeless people. “To prevent people from becoming locked into homelessness, we need to provide meaningful support as close as possible to the time they become homeless,” said Williams. “Our research shows that cash transfers have made it easier for people to access housing, thereby improving stability and reducing the risk of trauma.”

Foundations for Social Change led the New Leaf Project in partnership with UBC in the spring of 2018 using science-based metrics to track outcomes and assess the impact of direct cash transfers. The study compared a group that received cash transfers with a control group that did not. Various other forms of support were available for both groups. All participants were assured of anonymity and confidentiality.

“To receive a direct cash transfer, participants had to meet criteria that demonstrated no substance abuse or abuse,” explains Dr. Jiaying Zhao, Principal Investigator and Professor, UBC. “These people also did not have any major symptoms of mental health problems and showed a willingness to change.”

By empowering individuals to meet their own needs, research shows that participants reduced their spending on goods such as alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, spent fewer days homeless, and achieved greater Food Safety. Moving from shelter to housing provides stability, reduces the risk of trauma, improves health, and frees up shelter beds for others in need.

Homelessness is a pervasive problem with no single effective solution in every case. The New Leaf Project shows that a direct money transfer is a bold and innovative solution for people who have recently become homeless and provides strong evidence that a lump sum can make a transformational difference.

Other data results and study parameters:


Foundations for Social Change is a Vancouver-based charity that develops innovative programs to help vulnerable populations in our communities. We seek solutions to current social issues, such as homelessness, with a bold entrepreneurial spirit, using data and evidence to evaluate our work and measure impact. Bound by our common humanity, we defend an inclusive society where everyone has the opportunity to realize their full potential.

We believe that economic inclusion is essential to be able to participate in society and that no one should be left behind. It requires challenging the status quo, and forces us to think radically and test innovative solutions that have never been tried before.

SOURCE Foundations for Social Change

For further information: Media Inquiries, Carole Appleby, Communications, Foundations for Social Change, 778.772.2050, [email protected]; Foundations for Social Change, 604.440.4423, [email protected]



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