GiveSafe app offers ‘beacon of hope' to homeless

A new app lets you connect with Seattle's homeless in a way you've never been able to before.

A new app, GiveSafe, lets people connect with Seattle’s homeless in a way they’ve never been able to before.

If you have the app, you can read about and invest directly in Raymond, who’s homeless.

“I’m not looking for a hand out. I’m looking for a hand up,” Raymond said.

We met Raymond when GiveSafe Founder Jonathan Kumar and GiveSafe’s software developer Andrei Villasana met Raymond. We watched as Kumar and Villasana gave him a beacon, which a Bluetooth emitter the size of a quarter.

If someone’s wearing a beacon and you have the app on your phone, and you’re twenty or thirty yards away, you’ll be notified about that homeless person. You get to read their story, and see their picture. Once you donate to that person, the beacon holder can get things like bus fare, groceries, a haircut, and a storage locker.

More than 1,400 people have signed up for the app.

Katherine Boyd was the 27th person to do so.

“There’s no reason I shouldn’t give to these folks. It’s set up in such a way that it goes towards things that are obviously helpful and meaningful, and immediately important,” said Boyd, who’s donated at least 30 times.

“There’s a lot of people out there that do care and want to help,” said Kumar. 

What about you, those of you walking by, driving by, cycling by? 

“The people are the answer,” said Kumar. “The individuals who are walking around the city, they are the answer, whether they know it or not. And all I’m doing, all we’re doing, is unlocking some of that compassion.”

Beacon holders don’t get to use the beacons forever. In fact every month, the beacon turns off and that person is required to check in with a counselor before the beacons are turned on again. Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission has been helping with some of that counseling.

There are currently 70 beacon holders in Seattle.

For more information about the beacon and how you can connect and help Seattle’s homeless visit withgivesafe.org or the organization’s Facebook page.

Copyright 2016 KING


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