The Case for Unconditional Cash Transfers with Jiaying Zhao
You’d probably guess that a major factor contributing to homelessness is a lack of money. Yet, very few programs provide unconditional and lump sum cash to unhoused individuals as a solution. There are a number of barriers that have impeded the broad implementation of this type of assistance, which include the lack of policymaker support and public mistrust in homeless people’s ability to manage money. Our guest this week found that direct cash transfers actually result in net societal savings over time. Jiaying Zhao is an associate professor, Canada research chair and a Sauder distinguished scholar at the University of British Columbia. She co-authored “Unconditional cash transfers reduce homelessness,” which was published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. Zhao, who has personally experienced housing insecurity in the past, joins WITHpod to discuss the cognitive taxes of poverty, rethinking the homogenous narrative about who homeless people are, the most surprising findings from the study, intended policy changes and more.
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