UBC-DIBS co-founder Jiaying Zhao and her fantastic team of researchers just published a new paper on “Unconditional cash transfers reduce homelessness“! More from JZ:
This is a huge joint effort with Foundations for Social Change over the last 7 years, co-led by Claire Elizabeth Williams, Frans Tjallingii, Ryan Dwyer, and Anita Palepu.
We found that a one-time unconditional cash transfer of $7,500 to individuals in homelessness reduced homelessness duration, increased spending and savings, and led to net savings for government and society. Importantly, the cash recipients did not increase their spending on alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes.
However, the public hold a deep mistrust toward individuals experiencing homelessness, incorrectly thinking that the cash recipients would spend more money on alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, which they did not.
To combat this mistrust, we showed that counter-stereotype messaging or utilitarian messaging improved public support for a future cash transfer policy to reduce homelessness. These messaging techniques can be used to advocate for cash-based policies to alleviate homelessness and poverty.