New York to give monthly cash payment to homeless young adults

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

New York City is set to launch a pilot program aimed at combatting homelessness among young adults by giving them monthly cash payments.

The scheme, developed by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago and financially supported by the city, will give $1,250 a month to 40 participants aged 18-25 for up to two years, with the aim of helping recipients find stable housing .

“Direct cash transfers are supported by a solid international evidence base, and they recognize people’s agency,” Chapin Hall’s Matthew Morton said in a statement.

He added: “Providing direct financial assistance with supports to young people has the potential to empower them to make investments in their own success while helping to counter racial inequities stemming from legacies of injustice.”

The program targets young people “with lived experience of homelessness, especially Black, Indigenous, Latinx and LGBTQ [people]”.

Separately, New York’s outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio said the program, chaired by first lady Chirlane McCray, said “will help uplift young people and reinforces our commitment to ending youth homelessness once and for all”.

A Chapin Hall statement said that “contrary to common beliefs, studies have shown that cash transfers to people experiencing adversity do not result in money poorly spent, increased substance use, or reduced motivation to work”.

In 2018, Chapin Hall found that one in 10 young adults aged 18 to 25 in the US have slept on the streets, in shelters, run away, been kicked out of home, or couch-surfed in the previous year.

The previous study, Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, also found that at least one in 30 adolescents aged 13-17 experienced some form of homelessness unaccompanied by a parent or guardian over the same period.

It also found that homelessness was no less prevalent in rural areas than in urban locations, and that certain groups, including black and Hispanic, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, as well as those who do not complete high school or are young parents, were at greater risk.

“Every day of housing instability and the associated stress represents a missed opportunity to support healthy development and transitions to productive adulthood,” Chapin Hall researchers concluded.

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