A small-scale study in the City of London has found that by asking homeless people who had been on the street the longest what they needed to change their lives -- and then giving it to them -- helped them move off the streets.
One asked for a new pair of trainers and a television; another for a caravan on a travellers' site in Suffolk, which was duly bought for him. Of the 13 people who engaged with the scheme, 11 have moved off the streets. The outlay averaged £794 ($1,277) per person (on top of the project's staff costs). None wanted their money spent on drink, drugs or bets. Several said they co-operated because they were offered control over their lives rather than being "bullied" into hostels. Howard Sinclair of Broadway explains: "We just said, «It's your life and up to you to do what you want with it, but we are here to help if you want»."
The unexpected results had another surprise: it turned out to be significantly cheaper than what the state currently spends on each homeless person, estimated to be at £27,000.
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