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Programs in Seed Grants

Health currency: the impact of cash transfers for a housing-insecure population

Principal Investigator: Adrienne Sabety, PhD, Stanford Health Policy

Research Team: Vivian Wan, MSW, Abode Services; Kara Carnahan, Abode Services; Margaret Alfaro, MPP, Abode Services; Stacey Murphy, PhD, Abode Services; James Sullivan, PhD, University of Notre Dame; Mary Kate Batisch, PhD, University of Notre Dame

Funders: Stanford Health Care Research & Health Equity Program, Center for Innovation in Global Health

One in four unhoused people in America lives in California, a state with 12% of the nation’s population. Through this seed grant-funded project, researchers hope to better understand how to alleviate California’s crisis of homelessness while simultaneously improving individuals’ well-being.

In partnership with Abode Services, a nonprofit addressing homelessness, researchers will randomly enroll 1,100 formerly homeless San Francisco Bay Area households to quantify how unconditional cash transfers affect health outcomes like access to primary care and behavioral health services, emergency services utilization, hospitalization rates, substance abuse, and physical and mental health. They hope their findings will illuminate the importance of upstream factors like income and poverty on homelessness, and that they will provide proof of concept for direct cash assistance as an intervention against homelessness.

“I’m excited to test a feasible, scalable intervention that meaningfully improves the lives of individuals who were formerly experiencing homelessness,” said Principal Investigator Dr. Adrienne Sabety.