Using addresses of empty properties, a UK-based charity gives those who are experiencing homelessness the opportunity to register for services.
We have seen numerous innovations aimed at helping those facing homelessness, from a chatbot that gives young people advice about how to apply for housing, to a cashless vending machine that provides homeless people with daily essentials. ProxyAddress seeks to combat one of the most problematic issues for those living on the streets – not being able to provide services with an address.
Without a fixed address, it is impossible to make use of a number of important services. For example, in the United Kingdom it is impossible to receive benefits, open a bank account, be employed or hold a valid driving license. Chris Hildrey, architect and Designer in Residence at the Design Museum, founded the ProxyAddress project with aid from the Arts Council England in order to help those in need. The project makes use of an estimated 500,000 empty homes in the United Kingdom. This, together with the fact that an address is not the private property of a homeowner, ProxyAddress is given the right to utilize these empty addresses for those in need.
The organization matches those who are homeless or in danger of homelessness with an address. Thereby giving them easy access to essential support. The organization works with local councils to access the details of properties which have been empty for a long period of time. By helping those who are not yet homeless, they seek to prevent homelessness and avoid the downward spiral that the most vulnerable members of society so often fall into.
This initiative will undoubtedly have a positive effect on society. Perhaps this will too inspire subsequent innovators to do what they can to solve deep-rooted social issues. Could innovation be the key to combatting some of society’s most difficult problems? How could unique ideas change the lives of those living in poverty?