January 04, 2017
Have you ever handed money to a homeless person on the street and wondered how it was spent?
A pair of University of Pennsylvania researchers has developed an app, called StreetChange, to enable something close to that.
Through the StreetChange app, homeless individuals living in Philadelphia will be able to create online wish lists to be filled by good Samaritans via mobile crowdfunding.
As described in an article by NewsWorks, homeless enrollees will work with outreach workers from the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania to set up their wish lists and will keep a small Bluetooth chip on themselves that will ping their location and wish lists onto the app.
So, hypothetically, when you pass by a homeless person on the street, you will be able to use the app to see their online profile, which will include a description of who they are and what they need, like a new pair of shoes or a winter coat.
Users will be able to donate as much as they wish toward the purchase through crowdfunding, with the funds exchanged through PayPal.
Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania workers will also coordinate delivery of the purchased items to the homeless participants, at which time they will also be able to work with them on housing case management, employment training and more.
The StreetChange app is expected to launch sometime this winter. Learn more about the app here.