Seattle has a new way to help those in need

September 26, 2016

Dreamstime.com

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In 2015, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared an official "State of Emergency" in regards to homelessness within the city. Now, a new Seattle app startup, GiveSafe, is one of many companies that have responded to the declaration with action.

GiveSafe allows users to anonymously make non-cash donations to select people who have been experiencing homelessness in the community.

How does GiveSafe work?

  1. You download the app on either Android or iOS.
  2. Your app notifies you when you are near a "beacon holder" (someone who is homeless and has been given a beacon by the Union Gospel Mission).
  3. Like Venmo, you click through to send money to the beacon holder.
  4. The beacon holder can use the received credit at partnering businesses for goods and services like food and furniture.
  5. In order to keep the beacon activated, beacon holders are required to have monthly meetings with non-profit counselors to have their beacons reactivated!

The GiveSafe website states, "Should you decide to give, the beacon holder can then spend the money at select merchants or through a nonprofit counselor on goods or services that can truly help (warm clothing, transportation, a good haircut, and more)."

Screenshot from GiveSafe app

As someone who used to work for a homeless shelter and services center, I know as well as anyone that a single app won't be a solution to the growing issue in Seattle. While a few bucks might not lift someone experiencing homelessness to a steady, stable job or a more consistent living situation overnight, the donations can fulfill basic needs that help those in their most dire times get the foundation they need to get back on their feet.

This new anonymous giving app may fill a much-needed gap for those who feel uncomfortable approaching someone experiencing homelessness, but this type of service goes hand-in-hand with making sure that we continue to reduce the stigma on homelessness by acknowledging the people on the streets as we walk past.

Euip yourself with information about the nearest services like the ones outlined in this list. Simple information about services can go a long way.

Help those around you and the entire community benefits.

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