London Nightvoucher

Homelessness in London

Night shelters. People who would otherwise sleep on the streets can usually get into night shelters for free, but capacity is limited, sleeping space is shared, some shelters are only open during the winter months and there are eligibility criteria that need to be met.

Hostels and related. Hostels are not always free and may require a referral from a charity, but generally offer more space and independence. This project aims to make it easier to make donations that are directly used for hostels and similar accommodations.

Project: London Nightvoucher

This project is currently just a rough idea:
Accommodation Provider Printed Nightvoucher Website Recipient

Reasoning behind the project

Trusted accommodation providers. Accommodation providers do not need to trust the website, as the received donations indicate a code that can be found on the access website to confirm which donation it links to. The accommodation providers do not receive the access link with the donation, but accommodation providers need to be trusted to provide services that are paid for in the dedicated donation.

Importance of Face-to-Face Interactions. While it is possible to donate directly to somes accommodation providers (e.g., sponsoring young homeless people [link]), both donors and recipients alike deeply benefit from a more human-to-human interaction (moral support and goodwill can go a long way).

Dedicated donations. While giving cash is always a possibility and may be the best choice, accommodation costs for multiple days/weeks/months can be substantial and without knowing the person very well it harbours the risk that the money may be used for things that further the problem rather than helping out of it. Thus, to overcome reluctance on the side of donors (especially for larger sums) and to guide recipients towards accommodation, this project aims to make it easier to make dedicated donations via vouchers.

Intention of the project. It is not meant to solve all problems, but in the best case it may inspire more people to give more money, more money may go towards accommodation and more opportunities may be created for positive interactions; all of which may help a person to find a safe place to sleep and try to find a way out of homelessness. The goal is to keep the project simple enough to not require any donations for the project itself and to only accept volunteer work and partnerships that are directly used towards the project, i.e., anything that could go directly towards providing people with a safe bed should go towards that.

Open Challenges

There are many (incomplete list):

About this project

It is currently in its infancy and merely the idea of one computer science researcher (hopefully soon more) who will try their best to make this a reality, but any help would certainly speed up the process and increase chances of success. Thus, do not hesitate to get in touch with if you think this project could be helpful.

Note: The views and opinions expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of their employers.