A man protests homelessness in Vancouver. Around 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness each year, and the rates continue to rise. Credit: Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty

Ray, a man in his 50s, used to live in an emergency homeless shelter in Vancouver, Canada. Then he participated in a study that changed his life. He was able to pay for a place to live and courses to prepare him for his dream job.

The newly published, peer reviewed PNAS study, conducted by the charity Foundations for Social Change in partnership with the University of British Columbia, was fairly simple. It identified 50 people in the Vancouver area who had become homeless in the past two years. In spring 2018, it gave them each one lump sum of $7,500 (in Canadian dollars). And it told them to do whatever they wanted with the cash.

“At first, I thought it was a little far-fetched — too good to be true,” Ray said. “I went with one of the program representatives to a bank and we opened up a bank account for […]

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