It took one research project in the city of Vancouver, B.C., to debunk preconceived ideas about the homeless. Nonprofit Foundations for Social Change and the University of British Columbia launched a study in 2018 that gave $7,500 to homeless individuals and tracked their journey over a year. They also had a control group of homeless people to whom no money was given. While she had no expectations, Claire Williams, CEO of the nonprofit organization, shares how "beautifully surprising" the results turned out to be. Amidst those results, those who received the money got out of homelessness and found stable housing faster than those who hadn't. Also, contrary to the common bias on homeless people, almost 70% of money recipients were food-secure after one month, and spending on cigarettes, alcohol and drugs declined by 39%, on average. The results even found that helping homeless people in such a way would also help taxpayers down the road. Williams explained that it costs social and health services $55,000 a year, on average, to cover one homeless individual. Study data showed that the project saved the shelter system approximately $8,100 per person for a total of roughly $405,000 over one year for all 50 study participants. "It challenges stereotypes we have here in the West about how to help people living on the margins," Williams said.

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