Blockchain Technology Tapped to Help Homeless; Could Be a Groundbreaker

Recognizing that many homeless people suffer from not having IDs, Austin, Tx., officials are tapping Blockchain as a solution.

One of the things that critics of the crypto space often say of it is, “I don’t think cryptos like Bitcoin will survive, but I’m sweet on the Blockchain technology that underpins them.”

Indeed, Blockchain is being embraced by all kinds of industries and sectors. Now, homeless advocacy groups, government agencies and service providers have joined forces to come up with ideas on how to use Blockchain to provide the homeless with one of the most basic things we all need– IDs

What we take for granted

Most of us have some form of identification that we keep on our person without a care in the world. It’s second nature.

For the homeless, they must contend with trying to keep all their worldly possessions on their persons, including their IDs. Their transient lifestyles often leave them vulnerable to losing these things, whether it be due to theft, or simply losing them.

As you know, without an ID, you are greatly limited in accessing the most basic of services. Observers pinpoint the vital services so many homeless people are in need of to include substance-abuse treatment, medical services, and of course housing.

Amber Price, Community Health Paramedic with Austin-Travis County EMS, has said:

"One of the biggest challenges faced by those in our community experiencing homelessness is simply keeping track of the documents they need. When you're homeless it's easy to have your documents lost or stolen. If we can prevent having to refile paperwork, re-apply for access to services, or even just keep their ID and important records secure, then we can alleviate a huge burden for the homeless community."

Blockchain to the rescue

Recognizing the challenges that the homeless face because they do not have proper identification, several Austin, Tx. government agencies and advocacy groups are working together on a pilot program called the MyPass Initiative.

The initiative is also meant to do away with the administrative burdens government officials face in trying to help the homeless. They see Blockchain as a solution facilitate these efforts.

For example, observers note that providing help to the homeless is often fragmented across several outfits. This can lead to duplication of their efforts, delays in providing the needed services, and of course higher costs.

The initiative calls for Blockchain to be used to store individuals’ identification information.

What’s more, the individuals can access their information with mobile devices or computers.

This seems like a stretch – homeless individuals owning such devices, or even having access to them. But, no matter, supporters of MyPass see their efforts as being a step in the right direction.

To The Wall Street Journal, Sly Majid, chief service officer for the city of Austin, said the following:

“The goal is to empower [the homeless] with that information and allow them to have ownership and autonomy of [their data] and use it to garner services.”