What is the New Leaf Project, and what does it tell us about homelessness prevention?

What is the New Leaf Project, and what does it tell us about homelessness prevention?

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Published on

July 1, 2024



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General Prevention

The New Leaf Project, based in Vancouver, Canada, is an innovative social experiment aimed at addressing homelessness through direct cash transfers. The project is managed by the charity Foundations for Social Change, in partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC).


The primary goal is to explore the impact of providing a substantial one-time cash transfer to homeless individuals. The project aims to determine if this approach can help recipients improve their quality of life and achieve stability more quickly compared to traditional methods of aid.


In the initial study conducted in 2018, 50 homeless individuals received a lump sum of CAD 7,500 each. This group was compared to a control group that did not receive the cash transfer. Participants were monitored over the course of a year to track their progress, including changes in housing status, spending habits, and overall well-being.


Preliminary results indicated positive outcomes. Recipients of the cash transfer were able to secure stable housing faster, reduce their reliance on shelters, and improve their food security. The study found that recipients spent the money wisely, with most of the funds going towards essential needs such as food, rent, transportation, and personal goods. There was no significant increase in spending on items like alcohol, drugs, or tobacco.


The project challenged common stereotypes about homeless individuals mismanaging financial resources. It demonstrated that direct cash transfers can be an effective tool in reducing homelessness and promoting financial independence and stability.

Support & Expansion

The success of the initial pilot has garnered interest from policymakers and philanthropists, with discussions on scaling the project to reach more individuals and potentially implementing similar programs in other regions.

Academic & Practical Contributions

The collaboration with UBC ensures rigorous academic oversight and data analysis, contributing valuable insights to the field of social policy and poverty reduction strategies. The New Leaf Project has inspired further research into the effectiveness of direct cash transfers as a means of alleviating homelessness and poverty.


The New Leaf Project represents a groundbreaking approach to tackling homelessness, offering evidence that direct financial support can empower individuals to make positive changes in their lives. By providing a lump sum of money, the project helps recipients to break the cycle of homelessness, highlighting the potential for innovative solutions to complex social issues.

For the complete report, “Taking Bold Action on Homelessness,” click here.

Melissa is a communications professional with 30 years of experience in digital and print content production, editing, research, community engagement, and development. She specializes in telling stories that allow people not only to understand a topic but also to embrace a mission.

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Melissa Amour