High-Tech Homeless Wearing QR Codes For Cashless Panhandling

Homeless people in the UK are wearing QR codes around their necks as part of a new Oxford University-backed initiative to bring panhandling into the digital age, reports the BBC

The “social innovation project,” called Greater Change, assigns a scannable QR code to each homeless person – completely obliterating the “Sorry, I haven’t got anything on me” excuse to keep on walking. Instead, it’ll be “Sorry, I totally would but I don’t have the app and my data plan is very restrictive.”

Scanning the barcode will pull up a profile of the homeless person – including the story of how they became homeless or what their job used to be, while the beggar patiently waits for donors to make their decision.

Donations from digital benefactors will then go into an account managed by a case worker “who ensures that the money is spent on agreed targets, such as saving for a rental deposit or a new passport.” 

“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,” Alex McCallion, founder of Greater Change, told the BBC. –Telegraph

“So the solution we’ve come up with is a giving mechanism through your smart phone with a restrictive fund.”

The project is currently in a trial phase in Oxford, and is supported by Oxford University Innovation and Oxford’s Said Business School. 

Neil Coyle MP, the Labour co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ending Homelessness, said: “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. –Telegraph

“This intervention should not be necessary but with a Government ignoring the scale of the problem, any extra donations may help homeless people directly.”

Coyle noted that homelessness has spiked in recent years.

“It’s encouraging to see that people want to help rough sleepers, but the bigger picture here is that neither rough sleeping nor any form of homelessness should be an issue in Britain today,” said Jon Sparkes, CEO of homeless advocacy organization Crisis

The Big Issue, a magazine sold by Homeless people, says sales have been suffering as people are walking around with less and less physical cash, which has left the periodical looking to jump into the digital age as well. 

The magazine, which is sold by homeless people, has suffered as a result of people walking up and down Britain’s high streets without coins and notes in their pockets, as they now rely on cards and mobile phones for payments.

Russell Blackman, the Big Issue’s managing director, said earlier this year that they are looking into ways to roll out cashless payments to all its vendors. –Telegraph

“It is vital that we develop the right contactless solution for our vendors, ensuring that they can get instant access to their funds, even if they don’t have their own bank account due to a lack of permanent address,” he said.

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Author: Tyler Durden

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