Researchers Discover Most Effective Way to Help Homeless Get Off Streets
Researchers found that by listening to homeless people and giving them a budget, they would be almost certain to find help.
It’s a question we’ve all considered at some point: What’s the best way to help the homeless community? Is it a good idea to throw your change into a beggar’s cup, or will he simply spend it on liquor or drugs? Should you write a check to your local shelter instead?
There’s no easy answer—but a UK-based nonprofit, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, has come up with a surprising option that could help the homeless more than any of the current choices.
In a study, outreach workers found 15 homeless people, and simply asked them what possessions they would need in order to change their lives. One requested a pair of shoes and a prepaid cell phone; another asked for a camper van. They were given an annual budget of £3,000, which was used to purchase their requests and help out with other necessities. The gift came with one condition: The homeless people would need to work with a “broker” who would help them manage their budgets over a long-term basis.
The results were striking: Out of the 13 people who agreed to the terms of the study, 11 are now off the streets. Most are living independently, while others have returned to family members or entered drug treatment facilities.
So what makes this such an effective approach? The participants feel that they have more choice and independence than in typical charity cases. They’re able to choose where to meet the budget manager and to discuss their needs at length.
“We was meeting [regularly] to discuss it, and I’d actually gone from the stage of wanting nothing to do with these people, to actually looking forward to seeing them,” said one of the participants. “So it’s not just the actual money. It’s the way it’s being handled. All the people are dealt with as individuals.”
This approach may appear costly on an individual level, but if we could initiate a large scale trial, there’s no limit to the social progress we might see. The study will soon be replicated in London—here’s hoping it makes its way Stateside before long.Filed under: Non-Profits,
Liked this? You'll love these, too:
9-Year-Old Rachel Beckwith’s Final Wish Inspires Thousands to Give
For her 9th birthday, Rachel Beckwith asked for donations to a charity to promote clean water around the world. After her tragic death in a car accident, thousands have given to her cause. Read More
Pilots N Paws Matches Volunteer Pilots with Animal Rescuers
The nonprofit group Pilots N Paws saves animals' lives by transporting them cross-country to new foster homes. Read More
Dave Cornwaithe Travels Mississippi River by Stand-Up Paddleboard
Dave Cornwaithe is attempting to complete 25 separate 1,000 mile journeys without using motorized transportation, in the Expedition 1000. Read More
Whitney Elementary: The School for Homeless Children
After discovering that the majority of her students were homeless, Principal Sherrie Gahn went to great lengths to help her students stay in school. Read More
Jon Bon Jovi Opens Pay-What-You-Want Restaurant, The Soul Kitchen
Rocker Jon Bon Jovi has opened a pay-what-you-want restaurant in Red Bank, New Jersey. Read More
To our free daily newsletter, featuring good news from around the world, exclusive interviews with changemakers, guest columns, and subscriber-only weekly giveaways and special offers. Your privacy is secure with us, we will never spam you or sell your email address. Enter your email address below or click here to learn more about what you will receive.
- Stanislav Petrov: The Man Who Saved the World by Doing Nothing
- Miracle Fruit Makes (Almost) Everything Delicious
- Hachiko: The World’s Most Loyal Dog
- Liam Hoekstra, Superbaby: Toddler Born with Superhuman Strength
- Mugging Attempt Gets Thwarted by Real-Life Ninjas