New study proposes using power of incentives to help keep people off of Calgary's streets
New study proposes using power of incentives to help keep people off of
CALGARY, Jan. 23, 2012 /CNW/ - In a paper released today by The School
of Public Policy, Professor Brendan O'Flaherty offers a straightforward
method for fighting homelessness that contrasts many current programs
already in place to deal with this important social issue.
"If you want people to be housed rather than homeless, reward them for
being housed," O'Flaherty argues.
Specifically, O'Flaherty advocates the introduction of an Optimal
Homelessness-Reducing Home Allowance (OHRHA), which would take the form
of a flat amount rewarded to people for each night that they are not
What would differentiate OHRHA from existing social assistance programs
would be its simplicity and purpose. "Other housing allowances were
designed with other goals in mind," the author writes. "The virtual
exclusion of non-elderly single adults from these programs is pretty
good evidence that they were not intended to reduce homelessness."
Programs like Alberta Works or provincial housing allowances impose
special criteria that must be met in order to receive payments.
O'Flaherty indicates that OHRHA would have only one rule: you receive
payment if you are housed.
In terms of funding such a program, the author recommends imposing a new
land value tax on Calgary property owners. He argues that the advantage
of such a tax is that any costs would be absorbed by the positive
impact of OHRHA on land prices. In fact, the tax would be proportional
to land value increments.
The study can be found online by going to www.policyschool.ucalgary.ca/publications.
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SOURCE University of Calgary - School of Public Policy
For further information:
The School of Public Policy
University of Calgary