In an attempt to adapt to the cashless society they now face some homeless people have been wearing barcodes around their necks so passersby can give them money by using their smartphone, in a Oxford University-backed scheme.
‘Greater Change’ – a social innovation project being trialed in Oxford – has issued homeless people with a QR code. Members of the public who want to give them money, but have no change, can use their smartphones to scan the code before completing an online payment.
The donation is deposited in an account controlled by one of the projects workers, who then ensures that the money is spent on beneficial targets, that can include a deposit for rent.
The project has been supported by Oxford University Innovation and Oxford’s Said Business School.
Speaking to the BBC, Alex McCallion, founder of ‘Greater Change,’ said: “The problem we’re trying to solve here is that we live in an increasingly cashless society and as well as this when people give they worry about what this money might be spent on. So the solution we’ve come up with is a giving mechanism through your smart phone with a restrictive fund.”
As well as allowing you to donate money, upon scanning the barcode one can see a profile of the homeless peron, which informs about their circumstances; how they started living on the streets and their previous profession.
Neil Coyle MP, the Labour co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ending Homelessness, told the Telegraph: “Necessity has again become the mother of invention and now there is an app to try and help generate more public donations to homeless people.
“This intervention should not be necessary but with a Government ignoring the scale of the problem, any extra donations may help homeless people directly.”
The number of people sleeping rough in England has recently hit a record-high – with a 73 percent increase over the last three years. Official government data showed that on any given night in autumn last year some 4,751 people were sleeping rough, over double what was recorded in 2010. However Crisis, a national charity dedicated to homeless people, stated that the real number was a lot higher, citing their own research of more than 8,000 people currently sleeping rough in England.
Following the data’s release, a spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government stated that: “No-one should ever have to sleep rough. That’s why this Government is committed to halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it altogether by 2027.”
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