(CNN)You've heard this refrain before -- giving money to homeless people is not the best way to help them because it might be squandered, or spent on harmful habits. But a new Canadian study makes a powerful case to the contrary.
Researchers gave thousands of dollars to homeless people. The results defied stereotypes.
The study, dubbed "The New Leaf Project," is an initiative of Foundations for Social Change, a charitable organization based in Vancouver, in partnership with the University of British Columbia.
Researchers gave 50 recently homeless people a lump sum of 7,500 Canadian dollars (nearly $5,700). They followed the cash recipients' life over 12-18 months and compared their outcomes to that of a control group who didn't receive the payment.
The preliminary findings, which will be peer-reviewed next year, show that those who received cash were able to find stable housing faster, on average. By comparison, those who didn't receive cash lagged about 12 months behind in securing more permanent housing.
People who received cash were able to access the food they needed to live faster. Nearly 70% did after one month, and maintained greater food security throughout the year.