The ever-growing homelessness crisis is impacting people and communities around the world. It’s estimated that 1.6 billion people live in inadequate housing and more than 100 million people have no housing at all. Right here in Canada studies have demonstrated that over 230,000 Canadians experience homelessness in a given year. But the numbers may actually be even higher.
Though this complex issue can’t be solved by a one-size-fits all approach, it’s clear that an innovative solution is needed to challenge the status quo and ingrained assumptions that keep us stuck in crisis. The good news is that one social entrepreneur and her organization has taken such a bold step, launching the world’s first direct cash transfer pilot program to combat homelessness. And the results are eye-opening. We speak with her next.
Welcome to In the Business of Change, where we speak with social entrepreneurs impacting their communities and the world. I’m your host Elisa Birnbaum publisher and editor in chief of SEE Change Magazine. Don’t forget to check out my book also titled In the Business of Change profiling social entrepreneurs around the world, which is now available in audiobook format too, with me as your narrator. You can find it wherever you normally buy your books and audiobooks, including your local bookstore Amazon or on our website.
On today’s podcast, we speak with Claire Elizabeth Williams, co-founder and CEO of Foundations for Social Change. She speaks to us about the organization’s New Leaf Project which conducted a randomized controlled trial with people who were homeless, providing them with $7,500 CDN in cash transfers, condition-free, and then followed them for 12 months.
In our conversation Claire shares the study’s findings, many of which run counter to society’s assumptions about the decision-making and priorities of this vulnerable group. And we discuss how the ground-breaking project can open the door to innovative thinking – not only when tackling homelessness but other intractable societal issues as well.
Listen. Learn. Discuss. Share.