'A new B.C.-based study undercuts the persistent stereotype that homeless
people can't be trusted with cash, according to the lead researcher who says it
also highlights a different way to respond to the crisis.
Dr. Jiaying Zhao, an associate professor of psychology at the University of
British Columbia, was part of a team that gave 50 homeless people in Vancouver
$7,500 and then followed them for a year.(opens in a new tab)
The jumping-off point, Zhao said, was a survey in which respondents estimated
that if homeless people were given this amount of money, they would spend four
times more than their non-homeless counterparts on so-called "temptation
"People in general don't trust those in homelessness. We think that when we
give homeless people money they're going to squander it on drugs and alcohol.
That's a deeply ingrained distrust and I think it's unfair and it's not true,"
Zhao told CTV News
This distrust – along with stereotypes about who becomes homeless, how and why
– is partly why there is widespread resistance to the idea of a potential
policy solution that would provide no-strings-attached payments.
"The cash transfer is such a no-brainer. But nobody is willing to try it," Zhao
said, explaining why she felt so strongly that it was important to do this
particular study of spending.
"We spend billions in a year to manage homelessness and that investment is not
getting good returns, because the homelessness crisis is only growing."
So what did the research show?
"When we talk to these people, they know exactly what they need to do to get
back to housing and they just don't have the money," Zhao said.'
Via Esther Schindler.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics