#BR2016: Hackathon for the Homeless

Business Rocks 2016 hosted a global hackathon in a bid to help solve through technology the ever-growing problem of homelessness

[Two weeks ago, The Gad About Town web site participated with many others in publicizing the international tech meeting in Manchester, UK, Business Rocks 2016, with a focus on a planned hackathon to bring brilliant minds together to collaborate on solutions to homelessness. The two-day-long hackathon took place, and real solutions were created. Here is a report from the Hacktivist Culture web site.—Mark Aldrich, The Gad About Town]

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From Manchester’s City Centre to the shores of the Mediterranean, homelessness isn’t just about rough sleepers and migrants fleeing war zones, it’s about the needed change in the hearts and minds of those in a position to use their skills to help solve the growing crisis.

The two-day hackathon educated some of the sharpest and brightest minds about the dangers, challenges, and needs of the vulnerable. A panel consisting of the homeless from Gary Neville’s Stock Exchange project, scientists, developers, technologists, social housing and experts on the current migrant crisis set the “tech for good” challenge.

This was a project inspired by the homeless, for the homeless.

From the Business Rocks 2016 Homeless Hackathon web site:

“The Hackathon was a collaboration between Business Rocks, TimeOverDistance and The Pirate Party of Norway. A multitude of other supporters made this happen, even a couple of banks chipped in. Worth mentioning is that hackers, hacktivists and social media activists made the world aware of this event.”—Nathan Newman of TimeOverDistance.com

Winner of the Business Rocks 2016 Hackathon for the Homeless:
Hackathon Crew, LIMBO, students @ London School of Economics.

Hackathon Crew LIMBO. Winners of the Business Rocks 2016 Hackathon for the Homeless

Hackathon Crew LIMBO. Winners of the Business Rocks 2016 Hackathon for the Homeless

LIMBO crew members: Emilie Maret, Hadil Dayri

LIMBO aims to bridge the gap between the state of homelessness and that of long-term employment by providing homeless individuals with the opportunity to work short-term missions that will reinforce their interpersonal skills, give them access to training or additional income, and make them appear more reliable in the eyes of their future employers. LIMBO will take the form of an app that matches people’s needs for spontaneous services and help with the extensive skill sets of hidden homeless individuals. LIMBO is scalable, as it runs on a mutual incentive for end users to better allocate their time, and for workers to work towards reintegration.

Contact Information: ray@timeoverdistance.com

Introducing the other crews and their projects:
Hackathon Crew, SupportNet, students @ Birmingham University.

SupportNet Crew

The SupportNet Crew

SupportNet crew members: Arvid Kingl, Fillipo Bovo, Mason Cusack, Wendy Kong Wei Zhen, Marius Hente, Mohammed Ani, Riley Finch

SupportNet aims to create a one-stop shop for the homeless community to search for information about organisations dedicated to alleviate issues affecting the community. Organisations register themselves on the website and will be searchable on the web portal: SupportNet.

Contact Information: ray@timeoverdistance.com

Hackathon Crew, Postall
Hackathon Crew Posty
Postall crew members: Mark Claydon, Wesley Hall

Without a fixed address it is impossible to get a bank account, without a bank account it is difficult to get a job, without a job it is hard to get a fixed address. Postall aims to help break this cycle by enabling organisations working with homeless people to automatically scan and sort mail for them, allowing access to it online and a foothold back into accommodation and work.

Contact Information: ray@timeoverdistance.com

Hackathon Crew, Pleji, Software Engineers @ Apadmi

The Apadmi Crew

The Apadmi Crew

Pleji crew members: Gary Butcher, Tengiz Meskhi, Merrick Sapsford.

Pleji is a crowd-source based solution for correcting the imbalance of supply and demand that all homeless-centric charities face. Using Pleji, charities are able to create effective donation campaigns, whether it be for material, services, or finance. Pleji users are then able to pledge whatever they can to help the cause.

The full keynote is available here: Keynote.

Pleji Source Code on GitHub.

Contact Information: ray@timeoverdistance.com

Hackathon Crew, Street Buddy

The StreetBuddy crew

The StreetBuddy crew

StreetBuddy crew members: Ellie Hale, Andreas Georgiades, Aristos Michaelides, Allan Gray.

StreetBuddy is an app that helps normal people help people. It aims to connect the homeless with mentors; teams of volunteers who will form a peer support network around an individual and signpost them to crucial resources such as mental health and housing services—creating a national network of people who want to offer a holistic approach to tackling homelessness.

Mentors can volunteer as an individual and join a “Street Buddy Team” in their area, or invite their friends/colleagues to form their own team. There will be a specialist “Street Buddy Plus” for trained mentors that deal specifically with issues such as rehabilitation and mental health. Mentors can also offer training in particular skills, from financial management to carpentry, to help their buddy move forward in life. Homeless people can sign up to the system from organisations they already interact with, and can select volunteer buddies with the right skill sets to help them.

The application is a tool that provides community, communication, and resources for anybody that wants to help.

StreetBuddy logo

StreetBuddy Logo

A web site has been created: StreetBuddy

More information is available in this video:

Contact Information: ray@timeoverdistance.com

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This was a project inspired by the homeless, for the homeless. Each project is ongoing.

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“Hacking is often thought of as a bad thing, but hacking means many different things. One of the ways of looking at it is taking something that works and putting it together in a different way. You have a problem, pick things apart,, and then come up with a solution. This Hackathon was just that. A start to hacking, or solving, some of the challenges faced by the homeless.”—Raymond Johansen, Pirate Party Activist and Anonymous Hacktivist

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A guest post by Kitty Hundal.

About Kitty Hundal
Kitty Hundal, author of From The Shadows: Persecution Games, is currently the Owner and Operator of Kitty Hundal Dot Com Solutions. She is also a contributing author to Hacktivist Culture, The Cryptosphere, The Fifth Column and several personal, special interest blogs.
View all posts by Kitty Hundal →

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