Big Issue: Business Rocks’ ‘Hackathon’ competition explores new ways to tackle homelessness. First published in the Big Issue on 22/04/2016 here written by Andrew Burns.
This week, some of the brightest young minds in tech, digital and social housing in Britain came together at Business Rocks festival in Manchester to explore ways in which the tech industry can tackle homelessness across the globe.
In the end, the judging panel – which included Big Issue journalist Andrew Burns– picked Hadil Dayri and Emile Maret as winners for their innovative LIMBO app, which will encourage, support and help find work opportunities for homeless and vulnerably housed people.
Dayri and Maret (pictured) – students at the London School of Economics – emphasised the importance of work, and the value of someone earning a legitimate income in their steps away from homelessness and poverty.
“LIMBO will help bridge the gap between someone being homeless and heir long-term goal to work and earn a living,” they said.
LIMBO is about prevention, and stopping the cycle of homelessness getting worse“It’s estimated there are one million hidden homeless in Britain – those who are sofa surfing, staying in temporary accommodation or in hostels – and LIMBO is about prevention, and stopping the cycle of homelessness getting worse.”
The competition posed the question ‘How Can Tech Solve Global Homelessness?’ and encouraged contestants to focus on mental health service solutions through social media. Participants were educated on the everyday challenges and systematic needs of the homeless and most vulnerable, in the UK and across the world.
The Big Issue was joined on the judging panel with leading developers, social housing experts, and homeless individuals from Gary Neville’s much discussed Stock Exchange project, while Big Issue founder John Bird offered expert insight into his own experience of homelessness prevention and support over the past 25 years.
Other pitches included Supportnet, a website that would connect the homeless and vulnerable with relevant support services in their area; Pleji, an app would facilitate a form of crowdfunding and donations for homeless support projects and collections; Posty, which would act as a remote postal service for those with no fixed address; and StreetBuddy, an app designed to pair up someone in need with a local, skilled volunteer.
Business Rocks is a two-day global tech conference, and this year’s keynote speaker is Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. The event ;has attracted more than 100 international speakers including global social influencer Brian Fanzo, priceline co-founder Jeff Hoffman and Dr Anita Goel of Nanobiosym.
LIMBO will now be piloted in Manchester in the coming months, with a view to expand it to other cities in the UK.