• Alexandra Damerau

Tech for Good- Impact Through Technology

Solving social problems: Homelessness

Currently, 320,000 people are experiencing homelessness across the UK. It is no longer an exception to be homeless: 1 in 200 people is homeless. The causes of homelessness are diverse, ranging from structural problems such as issues with Universal Credit payments or the lack of housing to personal issues such as mental health problems or domestic violence.

Whilst the homelessness rate is increasing, the cashless revolution is progressing. Fewer people are carrying change with them making it harder for those on the streets to survive. However, the cashless revolution may also help resolve the homelessness crisis. People are finding ways of utilizing fintech to solve the homelessness issue; various initiatives have emerged across the country.

One example is the charity Greater Change, a platform that allows people experiencing homelessness and those in threat of becoming homeless to collect money for a specific savings target. The individuals’ target represents a milestone in their journey out of homelessness or may allow them to avoid homelessness altogether. The targets range from identification documents to a rent deposit or a training course. Greater Change enables people to donate via their website or their app. In addition to that, you can scan QR codes of rough sleepers who have joined the scheme which will redirect you to their give page. That allows people to donate to rough sleepers cashlessly when they see them. Currently, the social enterprise does not charge transaction fees.

Another initiative is TAP England, a company that provides pop-up contactless payment booths that will allow people to donate to homelessness charities. The contactless terminals can usually be found in shops or cafes. You just tap your card against the card reader of the booth and thereby donate 3 pounds to the 22 homelessness charities TAP is currently fundraising for. The website offers a map where you can look up donation points. The Mayor of London has recently endorsed the program.

The last platform I will discuss does not exclusively focus on donating to a homeless charity but rather to various causes including homelessness. It is called Alice, and in contrast to the two other initiatives, it allows you to invest in impactful projects and enterprises as well as to donate to charities. The platform currently fundraises for St Mungo’s to reduce homelessness. By using their blockchain technology, Alice makes sure that financial transactions are secure and transparent. The platform aims to make impact measurable and will, therefore, inform you about the impact you have made.

These three initiatives show that technology can be used for good and that it may help resolve one of the biggest social problems the United Kingdom currently faces: homelessness.

You can bring about change by supporting these initiatives:

It’s time to take action.