One of the leading causes of homelessness is poverty and lower social economic status. Our team wanted to address that by building stronger ties with the homeless in each community by creating a local crowdfunded job board to enrich vocational experiences and develop trust.
How does it work?
For people that might need help with gardening, plowing snow, or simply another pair of helping hands, we allow you to register on the site, then create a job that'll be displayed and advertised for free to the entire network.
For the homeless, it's even simpler. Just tap on a job and enter your name. When the job is complete, you'll receive a gift card of your choice to a local supermarket or convenience store.
Why a job platform?
Taking a two-pronged approach to tackling poverty in the homelessness, we're addressing both short and long term needs. Each job offers a chance to pay for that new pair of socks that are desperately needed, or save towards a new warm jacket. One-off jobs give a chance to provide flexibility in difficult financial situations.
By continually completing tasks, our job seekers can build up a reputation for themselves as trustworthy members of the community. With a public detailed review and feedback system, each person can use their past jobs as proof of their skills and tenacity to future long-term employers. Together, these systems give each person another chance to raise themselves out of poverty and connect with other members of the community.
Reaching the Homeless
The hardest challenge for us was to find a way to connect with a group of people who often don't have the same access to technology as we do. Not everyone has a smartphone or a laptop they can simply use.
So, by partnering with cities, we're developing public kiosks, stationed on the streets, next to homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Each kiosk will be directly linked to our jobs page, bringing work opportunities directly to those who need it most. After the job is complete, any kiosk in the neighborhood can directly print out the gift cards and direct you to the closest store to redeem them.
At first the cost may seem daunting. How do we create all these kiosks and recruit volunteers to introduce this technology at a reasonable cost?
In fact, there are already precedents for what we're doing. In New York City, public power and wifi terminals already exist, and it's being expanded in the UK. Each is completely self-sustained, funded completely by advertising. As the people that live closest to the streets, the homeless are usually the ones that enjoy the perks the most.
We're extending that to build a sustainable network solution directly for the homeless. While those kiosks partner directly with only the cities, we are also planning to partner with local restaurants and department stores, we can offer gift cards at a fraction of the cost, encouraging healthy purchases, and also generating revenue for future expansion.