Homelessness Is Becoming More Common And A Growing Societal Problem
Just take a walk along a city street and you can see how homelessness is becoming more common and a growing societal problem for all of us.
A wide variety of complicated social issues, including a lack of affordable housing, poverty and unemployment, is resulting in more and more people being driven to sleep on the streets, an alarming number of whom are children.
First And Foremost: The Issue Of Human Safety
Along with basic health issues including mental and physical wellbeing, first and foremost comes the issue of human safety.
Due to the anonymous and wandering nature of many homeless people, the usual safety measures provided by having a fixed home, along with aligned expectations of physical protection are almost automatically cancelled when it comes to the impact of a total lack of security for someone sleeping on the streets:
- No fixed address – no warm, protected, predicable & reliable shelter
- Vulnerability to violence, robbery, rape and murder – less police protection due to the ‘mobile’ nature of survival
- Despair and desperation leading to taking greater risks in order to survive
- Substance abuse
- Criminal activity increase
- Unsafe sexual practices
- Barriers to education
- Susceptibility to illness and death
We Need To Ensure Housing Stability
What we need is to ensure housing stability, so that people have a fixed place to call home that’s appropriate in terms of facilities, size and support, in addition to sufficient income to rebuild their lives.
Here’s a radical approach happening in Finland:
“The scheme, introduced in 2007, is called Housing First. It is built on the principle that having a permanent home can make solving health and social problems much easier.”
~ Alex Gray, World Economic Forum
We Need To Address The Issue Of Day-To-Day Safety
But even before we as modern societies, can build those housing infrastructures to support our homeless, we need to address the increasingly alarming issue of day-to-day safety of homeless people, especially women:
- To know genuinely where people are each night (whether they physically visit a shelter or not)
- To know they are safe at the time they’ve legitimately ‘checked in’ using geo-tagged technology
Whizzl Is A Location-Based Social Feedback App
Whizzl is a location-based social feedback app which can be downloaded onto any smart phone for free.
Using the free Whizzl app, homeless people can check-in at any place around the city with a couple of easy steps if they have a smart phone, by taking a photo of where they are using the geo-tag feature built-in to the camera in the app.
This helps create an overview about the locations and safety of specific areas where homeless people are sleeping, and gives valuable information on how, where and the number of times they move locations. This is vitally important data for the organisations in charge of keeping them safe.
There’s No Question Of Giving False Or Misleading Information
What this means is that the actual physical location of the place where the photo was taken will appear in the technical ‘back-end’ of the picture, so there’s no question of someone giving false or misleading information as to a person’s whereabouts.
In addition, if they belong to a particular online private community created in the app – (a community created by a shelter for example), they can ‘check-in’ by scanning a QR code at a given location, so that organisations wanting to account for the safety and wellbeing of their community members, can rest assured that there’s been authentic contact every 24 hours, for example.
Incentivising People To Regularly Check In
What’s more, as a means of incentivising people to regularly check in, (providing invaluable back end data to these support organisations), eventually Whizzl aims to develop a token system whereby rewards are issued to those who’ve verified their safety. This is not in place yet, but is part of the vision the company has created.
These ‘rewardz’ could be used as a means to buy food, or a coffee for example, creating a whole new ecosystem for people living on the streets. Ultimately, while we aim to build better systems to provide for homeless people, in the meantime we can set up this win-win system, where people are actually getting rewarded or paid, to be accounted for.
Community Management Data Backed By Blockchain Technology
All of this community management data will be backed by blockchain technology in due course (also part of the company’s vision), which means that there’s no means of creating false posts, relaying misleading information etc. Once it’s ‘on the blockchain’ it can’t be removed, altered or doctored.
All the data backed by blockchain technology remains immutable and transparent – another way in which Whizzl plans to use modern-day innovation as a positive means to care for and create, harmonious communities and safe neighbourhoods.
Follow us on socials: