June 22, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Experiment with homeless people: scientists paid them $750 a month


In 2022, scientists conducted an interesting study. They set out to find out where the money would go if they paid the homeless $750 a month? Skeptics argued that it would be quickly spent on drugs and alcohol.

However, new research asserts BB.LV proves the opposite. A team of scientists from the University of Southern California, together with the San Francisco-based nonprofit Miracle Messages, looked at how a basic income and social support measures over the course of a year could affect the lives of homeless people in the United States.

They selected about a hundred random homeless people in Los Angeles and San Francisco and began paying them $750 a month, with no strings attached. The results showed that the experiment participants spent the majority of their monthly payments on food (36.6%). Then came spending on housing (almost 20%), transport (12.7%) and clothing (6.2%). The remaining 13.6% of the budget went to other expenses that were not classified.

According to the researchers, only 2% of monthly payments were spent on drugs, alcohol and cigarettes – a significant part was spent on cigarettes. But this is not the most important thing. The important thing is that homeless people receiving payments could improve their lives and stop being homeless. The researchers found that six months after the payments began, the number of participants who reported being homeless decreased by two and a half times (!).

Of course, this is not the first study to demonstrate that providing a basic income to people with zero or little income can lead to positive results. A pilot program in Denver, USA, in which about 800 homeless people received monthly payments ranging from $50 to $1,000, found that many participants were able to use the money to pay off debt, find housing and get a job.

In another study in Stockton, California, some residents (most of them low-income) were given $500 a month for two years. A year later, the unemployment rate among them decreased, while in the control group it increased. At the same time, people who received a basic income became healthier both physically and mentally.



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