Haven

Inspiration

The current state of the country and world has left many people homeless, and many homes empty. COVID has made people abandon their college apartments as they live at home, poverty has forced people onto the streets as they can't make rent, and wildfires and hurricanes have left people desperate as their homes have been destroyed. All of these factors compound together to make an extreme divide in the barrier for entry when it comes to housing. The rich and well off are generally fine and have a decent backing to ride the waves of the pandemic, while all of the people above are struggling. We wanted to make a platform to incentivize more fortunate people to help those who need help the most.

What it does

Haven has 4 main facets:

  • An Ethereum backed housing token
  • A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
  • A place for donors/landlords to list their housing options and claim tax receipts.
  • A place for people who need housing to find such and apply for need-based bundles of housing tokens.

In essence, the 501(c)(3) reviews applications for these fixed-value housing tokens and distributes them as needed. Then, when it comes to renting an accommodation, it's very similar to AirBNB, but you use housing tokens instead of cash. Since the donors/landlords are not making money off of this rental, their rental is viewed as a charitable donation to our foundation - who then manages who the tenant is. Because this is a charitable donation, the donor/landlord may trade in their housing tokens to the organization for a tax receipt.

Reasons why you might want to use Haven instead of Airbnb or similar services:

  • We're a nonprofit, so we don't charge fees.
  • Renting a place for cash is very difficult right now as so many people are out of work, so you'll have a more guaranteed tenant who will be providing you with tax benefits.
  • If you're struggling, Haven is made for you and only wants you to get the accommodation you need, because we really care.

How I built it

The mobile app is built in React Native. We use firebase for authentication because it's easy, and have all of our backend logic built in Azure, using Azure Functions, CosmosDB, Azure Maps, and App-Engine. The housing token crypto contract was defined in Solidity.

Challenges I ran into

Coming up with a name, that's always my biggest challenge in a hackathon. Getting React Navigation to work as expected. Getting the frontend to reflect backend changes in real time. The lack of sleep.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Getting an amazing product built in such a short period of time.

What I learned

How tax receipts work. How to make a crypto contract in Solidity. How to use Figma for UI design.

What's next for Haven

First we want to apply for official 501(c)(3) nonprofit status with the IRS. Once we do that, we will work closely with Microsoft for Nonprofits to make this project a reality in production. We'll make our backend more robust and the front-end more polished. We also will need to hire auditors for the team to review applications for housing tokens.

Video explaining Azure in description

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