Thursday, October 7, 2010

Homeless goes digital

Everyday when I leave the office, to drive home, I have to stop at the traffic light of a big intersection.
There are always people like shown in the picture below who are asking for money.

I don't mind to give them money, but i never know the true story behind these people and if my money will be used as i expect.
And i have to admit I have seldom cash with me, that I would not be able to give them money, even if would like to.

But I have a solution, which would help them and people like me.

Why not creating a website which allows homeless people or people without job to sign up. When they sign up they have to prove their identity with either their social security number or through a mentor, somebody with social security number.

When signed up, the system will read the SSN to get employee status, home status and other information like how many children. The person must upload as well a photo of himself and nearby pickup store (you will soon know why).

The system will not disclose name, address or financial situation other than saying, bad, worse, good etc.

If a mentor creates the account for somebody then the referral (mentor) can put this information in for the homeless person.

I know most of the street people don't have a computer or even a phone. But a mentor can help with this just using a smartphone.

Each account gets a QR Code which can be printed. Again a mentor can print the QR code at a nearby copy shop and bring it back to the homeless.

The next time I drive by at homeless, the person will hold up the sign with a qr code.

I will take my phone, scan the barcode, see the picture and his employment status. And an indicator on it if it was created by a mentor. If i feel the image matches the person and the story is heart breaking I can hit a button how much I want to give this person (up to $20) paid directly through phone bill.
Then i choose for what (food, soda or clothes). As soon I am finished I get a confirmation email. And a donation receipt. It is important tat is a donation otherwise the homeless person would need to tax income.

The homeless person will get once a week to his favorite pickup store coupons for food, soda or clothes.

I would never need to have cash with me, I can anytime decide to help the person and instantly see if the person is lying or not. But the best thing is that i can ensure my donation gets not misused for alcohol or other unnecessary items.

Who ever build this website and app will be paid by the donation. The owner of the site will get 10% from each donation for administration costs.

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad.
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