Idea: A Way For The Homeless To Panhandle Digitally

X For Y: Kickstarter For Homelessness

Imagine a world where the homeless don’t have to stand next to a freeway exit to panhandle. They don’t have to hold up signs begging for money in order to survive. That was the seed that spawned this idea.

Social Media For The Homeless

What if there was a platform, specifically, for people to panhandle? Helping the homeless went viral in 2011 when Ted Williams was put in the national spotlight. So people are interested in helping the homeless. It’s just about whether or not they can access their story. On this platform, the homeless can take pictures of their lives and post updates so people can see how their donations help that person.

Augmenting Solicitations

Now, that kind of social media involvement is going to be rare, especially for someone from the homeless community. So there’s another added benefit, they can augment their cardboard signs with a 4 digit alpha-numeric code that people can use to donate to them digitally. People who don’t have cash  or people who don’t have time to stop would now be able to donate. Also, people can choose to support someone through regular donations if they were inclined.


A transaction fee would be deducted from all donations.  Homeless people may not have a bank account, so the company would provide a debit card for the homeless to use.  Additionally, as another source of revenue, this debit card would have transaction fees for withdrawal. This type of revenue may be viewed as predatory so the entire platform may work better as a not-for-profit.

A Possible Pivot

Some homeless people may feel uncomfortable with attaching themselves and their livelihood to any kind of entity, due to mental illness or disinterest.  The homeless, by nature, are transient and may not necessarily be confined to a specific geographical area. This app could possibly provide a way for homeless shelters and homeless advocates to document possible security threats and create a safer environment for everyone involved.

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