A San Francisco-based startup has created a new online platform called HandUp that allows donors to directly help a homeless person through text messaging or web donations.
Here’s how it works: When a homeless person signs up on HandUp, they get an online profile that lists their needs, such as food, clothing or medical care. Check out HandUp member, Alvin, from the video above. After being hit by a car, he lost his front teeth and now needs dental work. He says with a new smile, he’ll try to find a job in retail so he can also finally buy the Christmas presents he owes his daughter. Donors can help Alvin — or any of the other 100 homeless people on the site — by signing up for HandUp’s secure SMS system or through the website. 100 percent of donations go straight to the member’s HandUp account. Credits can than be redeemed through HandUp’s partner, Project Homeless Connect, where members can pick up their listed necessities.
Co-founder Rose Broome told Fast Company that she started the site after realizing she wanted a more efficient way to help the homeless: “Last year, I saw a woman sleeping on the sidewalk and it hit me — why can’t I push a button and transfer resources from my phone?” Since its launch, more than 100 homeless San Franciscans have set up profiles on the site. While the service is only in San Francisco, HandUp has plans to expand their service nationwide, meaning it could soon be easier than ever to help someone in need.