An initiative that aims to build kinder communities one simple act at a time
One Another is an initiative that aims to build kinder communities one simple act at a time. It is a platform that supports people experiencing homelessness by contributing directly towards meeting their basic needs.
Homelessness is a circumstance that is devastating, dangerous and isolating. On average, people who are homeless in the UK die at just 44 years old (University of Sheffield, Crisis). The most visible form of homelessness is when people sleep rough by seeking shelter on streets or informal settlements. The number of people rough sleeping in the UK at any given time has doubled in the past 10 years to a conservatively estimated total of 4266 people as of 2019.
(Rough Sleeping Snapshot in England, 2019)
People who are homeless face complex issues with mental and physical health, alcohol and substance dependency, security of employment and income, and sense of safety and shelter. People experiencing rough sleeping not only deal with these, but in addition struggle to meet their most fundamental needs like food, water, sleep, showers, toilets, and clean clothes. Addressing their basic wellbeing can transform their ability and motivation to subsequently address their more complex needs that would lift them out of their current circumstances.
One Another was born out of Bethnal Green, London, through interactions with people experiencing homelessness, volunteers, locals, and business owners. It connects people in the community who want to help, to people who can use the help. It is essentially a new transaction model by which people can pay for basic goods and services, like food, laundry, and showers. People experiencing homelessness can choose to access these services through local businesses in the area. One Another primarily increases the current insufficient access, run by homeless-specific entities like day centres and charities, and instead integrates all members of the community, by enabling access to commonly used entities like corner shops, cafes, launderettes and hostels.
It is designed to work using affordable and easily available technology like NFC-enabled cards and touchscreen NFC readers, connected to a central database. The token-like cards are the physical transaction medium whose value is held digitally and can be loaded and redeemed at local businesses in the area using the NFC-readers, in exchange for goods and services. The cards and the transaction system are sponsored and managed by a trust set up to run One Another.
The impact that One Another aims to create is to build kinder communities, by giving agency and dignity to people experiencing homelessness to meet their basic needs. This impact is sustainable as it cuts out the middleman in charitable donations, making it compelling to engage in the system repeatedly, while improving the local economy in the process. One Another aims not only to meet this fundamental need by bringing people together, building trust and breaking down invisible barriers in the community; but through its impact, serve to advocate to local councils and the Government to ultimately end homelessness.