The problem

We know that in the US and around the world, the LGBTQ+ community experiences disproportionate levels of homelessness. The True Color Foundation found that in America, up to 1.6 million youth experience homelessness each year. And of this number, up to 40% identify as LGBTQ+.

Despite these high numbers, there is a lack of resources built by and for queer people, who don't always feel comfortable accessing other homeless organisations who won't always understand them and their unique situation.

We want to help queers who might no longer feel safe in their home because of their gender or sexuality, or who might have lost their income because of homophobia. We want to help them find a safe place to sleep, and give them access to the community and resources needed to rebuild their life.

Our solution

Queer CouchSafe harnesses the power and generosity of the LGBTQ+ community to help queers in crisis find a safe place to stay. We know that theere are a lot of LGBTQ+ people and allies who understand the struggles of being queer, who are willing to open their home and offer a couch to someone in need.

We've built a social platform that lists couches open to queers in crisis. Couches are offered by queers and allies of the community who, after a vetting process, are able to start welcoming people into their home. With this network, anyone who needs a safe place to sleep can contact hosts and find shelter.

The team

We are a team of 6 designers and developers from a coding co-operative called Founders and Coders in London.

How we built it

We built Queer CouchSafe as a web app, using JavaScript and Node.js. We used Hapi as a server configuration framework, with data being pulled from a MySQL database. Handlebars was used as a templating engine, and styles were written in SASS. The app is hosted on GitHub and deployed to Heroku.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud to already have a number of hosts already signed up on our platform. The site is now fully-functioning and ready to accept requests from those seeking a place to stay.

What's next for Queer CouchSafe

Our primary focus is on community. We'd like to get the word out about Queer CouchSafe so people can actually start using this amazing resource. We'd also like to vet and sign up more hosts around the world, especially in cities other than London.

Technically, we have a wish list of features we'd like to build, most of which revolve around safety. A proper login system that keeps the content private would ensure the community is reserved for those who need it most. A review system is also a priority, so as to provide the utmost reassurance to our LGBTQ+ users that they are entering a safe space. We'd also love to recommend other relevant resources such as shelters and LGBTQ+ organisations.

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