Novel ideas here, but not surprising results. When we lead with taking the people with the challenges seriously, we usally get remarkable outcomes as a return on our investment!
Read and tell me what your think.
Giving Money to the Homeless Might Actually Work
A few months ago, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a UK-based nonprofit that does amazing work in the field of poverty and social exclusion, issued a surprising report that deserves a much wider readership.
The study evaluated the success of a radical new way of working with the long-term homeless. Instead of soup kitchens, shelters, and mobile health clinics, the charity Broadway simply selected 15 homeless people that their outreach workers had found the hardest to reach (one had been on the streets for an astonishing 45 years), asked them what it was they needed to change their lives—and then bought it for them.
One asked for sneakers and a prepaid cell phone, one needed cash to pay off a loan, one wanted a TV and a comfy chair (to make the move into hostel accommodation more attractive), and one requested a camper van. Each of them received the money to purchase exactly what they asked for, with the condition that they also had to choose a personal "broker" who would help them write a budget.
Two refused to engage with the pilot project altogether, but of the 13 who agreed to take part, 11 are now off the streets. Several have entered treatment for addiction and mental health issues, some have reconnected with their families, and all are exhibiting an enhanced ability to function independently in society (i.e. paying bills, signing up for welfare, and turning up for training courses, etc.). The participants' own comments give a clue as to why the intervention worked so well:
To read the entire essay click here.