While San Francisco might be know for its thriving startup culture, it’s also known for having a larger-than-average homeless population. Rose Broome is one resident who couldn’t ignore the problem any longer, which is why she created Handup, a text messaging platform that makes it easier to give to the homeless.
The for-profit company created by Broome and co-founder Zac Witte, not only provides a more convenient way to donate to the homeless, but also makes sure that the money goes toward a beneficial purpose. Donations can only be redeemed through Project Homeless Connect in exchange for clothing, food, and other necessities.
While the service requires a cell phone or Internet access to make a donation, it remains a completely analogous experience for the people on the receiving end. Homeless people can sign up with any of Handup’s partners to receive a custom business card which lists things like their name and basic needs.
Apart from a hands-off way to donate money, the card also gives people a chance to visit that homeless person’s profile on the Handup website. This gives people a chance to better understand who exactly they are giving money to, and how they got into their situation in the first place.
The service is a great way to try and make a difference in someone else’s life, but could also be seen as a way to avoid real interaction with these people. To truly understand who they are, and make a lasting difference, it’s sometimes necessary to dive in head-first and get your hands dirty.