We all see homeless people every day while on our way to the office or the gym. It also makes us wonder how these people ended up here, and how are they managing their lives. A lot of people also try and help these homeless people by regularly showing up and providing them with food and other basic necessities.
Living on a footpath is not an easy thing to do. With the struggles these homeless people have to go through, we can only imagine how difficult it is to live outside on the streets. But StreetChange is here to help them out. StreetChange gives homeless people the ability to create their own wish lists and lets them define what would be helpful for the future.
StreetChange allows its users to make small donations toward the wish lists of homeless people living in Philadelphia. You can download and use the app anywhere in the U.S., this way StreetChange makes a local impact through the Bluetooth beacons. The homeless people registered with the StreetChange app keep this Bluetooth beacons with them at all times.
Engaging With Their Clients.
StreetChange builds on the robust infrastructure of homeless service providers that know their communities and the people in need. StreetChange engages homeless adults that may not already be connected in programs like housing case management, employment training, and behavioral health services necessary for achieving stability. Those who express interest work with a peer specialist or outreach caseworker to complete a brief intake that obtains a personal description and identifies long-term housing goals and strategies along with short-term material needs like socks, shoes, or a jacket. These short-term needs are then recorded in a registry that can be funded using the StreetChange app.
Using the app, you can view pictures, profiles, and needs of all StreetChange clients, with a special notification for any in your locality. You can then make a donation on the spot. Opening the app brings you to an “Around Me” screen that shows you, homeless individuals, nearby. The app detects a small beacon carried by each StreetChange client that emits a Bluetooth signal over a 150-foot radius. Push the “Browse All” button to view the profiles and registries of all StreetChange clients, regardless of if there are any around you. You can also donate to one of their highlighted items or directly to a service provider who needs your help.
Connecting The Services.
When donors have collectively donated enough to purchase an item, a text message is sent to the client that the item is ready for pickup at a local homeless service provider. Items can only be retrieved through a meeting with a peer specialist or case manager where clients discuss employment training strategies, healthcare options, and develop a plan to obtain permanent housing. These workers build trusting relationships that allow individuals who are homeless to accept placement in appropriate settings where they may obtain needed opportunities to recover their lives.
The app was created by Andrew Siegel and Dan Treglia, both researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. The app is available on both iOS and Android. They teamed up with the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania to connect those experiencing homelessness with caseworkers, and sign them up to receive donations using the app.
Help Achieve Stability.
In order to enroll in the program, a homeless person will need to have a caseworker and complete a survey. This will help them in identifying long-term housing goals and possible steps to reach them. You can view a picture and bio of the people before donating to fund their needs. You can donate an amount as low as $1 that would contribute towards an item in a person’s wish list. After an item on the list is fully funded, the homeless recipient picks it up from their caseworker and gets some needed support services at the same time. Among other services, StreetChange providers offer targeted case management, behavioral health services, employment training programs, computer training, and help obtaining identification to facilitate movement into housing.