February 18th, 2018 at 8:22 am
8 incredible innovations helping homeless people around the world
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Homelessness is widespread and hard to solve, affecting more than 560,000 people in the U.S. and hundreds of millions around the world.
It’s a complex and intractable problem, with countless agencies and nonprofits working to tackle root causes and provide systemic solutions. But while there may not be a one-size-fits-all formula for homeless people in every community, technology and innovation can help fill in the gaps.
Gadgets, apps and prototypes are temporary fixes, of course — we need to tackle poverty, lack of affordable housing, unemployment and more to truly arrive at solutions. But in the meantime, innovations can offer much-needed support to some of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
From a winter coat that takes contactless donations in Amsterdam to commercial shower trailers that offer hygiene and dignity in San Francisco, these eight inventions think outside the box when it comes to the issue of homelessness.
1. The EMPWR coat
The Empowerment Plan, a Detroit-based nonprofit that aims to lift people out of poverty and homelessness through employment, created an innovative coat that doubles as a sleeping bag and an over-the-shoulder bag for homeless populations.
The EMPWR coat is a durable, water-resistant jacket made of Cordura fabric from workwear company Carhartt, upcycled automotive insulation from General Motors, and materials from other donors. It costs $100 to “sponsor” a coat, distributed to those in need.
EMPWR coats have been donated across 40 states in the U.S., seven Canadian provinces and a few other countries around the world, according to the Empowerment Plan website.
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While personally I doubt that Gooferment “agencies” will ever “solve” homelessness”, I admire when the “private sector” gets into the solutions.
This is another Gooferment-created problem — zoning, licensing, inflation, closing the psychiatric hospitals “streeting” the mentally ill, and other Gooferment “programs” / “services” — that the Gooferment doesn’t want to solve. (What will the politicians and bureaucrats do if there are no “homeless” to need their “help”?)
Like Habitat For Humanity, I’d hope that the “tiny homes” revolution could become the answer to the homelessness “epidemic”. I can envision that a 50’s style development of cheap track housing developed for the returning ww2 and Korean veterans but rows of tiny houses with shared access roads. Put them around hospitals and clinics.
Tiny homes seem to be in the 20K$ range quantity one; I can’t imagine what they would cost in quantity “lots”.
Hope that idea gets a try. It’d be better then the homeless “encampments” that spring up.
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