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Instead of giving away cheap T-shirts or promotional clothing items at Austin’s convention center during the massive SXSW festival, the tech company Medallia is collecting it from attendees. The Silicon Valley-based customer management company has partnered with Austin’s Foundation for the Homeless to collect the marketing apparel given away by other companies (know as SWAG—“stuff we all get”) to donate to the local homeless community. Michael Scott would approve ... Discuss

 

Artist and former MIT student Michael Rakowitz has figured out a cheap and efficient way to keep members of the urban homeless community warm during the winter. His custom designed “paraSITE” shelters use cheap clear plastic or Ziploc bags (they only require about $5 worth of supplies) to connect to buildings’ HVAC vents, which keep them inflated and heated. Each one (he’s made about 60 over the course of the last 17 years) is individually design for the needs of a homeless community member in a major city. Because New York has strict laws about sleeping bags or tents being under 18 inches (to prevent camping), the paraSITE he made for a man there was in prefect compliance with the strict regulations ... Discuss

 

You may remember the story from earlier this year about a programmer who offered a local homeless man a choice: he would either give him $100, or he would take time out of his schedule to teach him code. Leo, the New York City homeless man, chose the code lessons. Now, armed with his new programming knowledge and a laptop from the programmer, Leo has just released his first app. “Trees for Cars”, which costs $.99, helps drivers find fellow carpoolers on their route and see how much CO2 they are saving by using the app. After just 16 weeks of lessons, Leo (who relies on the generosity of local doormen to charge his laptop), is officially a developer. In a statement about that app, Leo said, "Trees for Cars is a great way to build relationships, strengthen communities, help each-other financially and energy wise, all under the umbrella of saving the environment." Congrats on the all the hard work, Leo ... Discuss

 

The homeless advocacy organization Degage Ministries has posted this video of a recent makeover they gave to a homeless Army veteran named Jim Wolf. Since the physical transformation, Mr. Wolf has undergone a life transformation as well—he is receiving help for addiction struggles and is scheduled to get his own housing soon. You can go here to learn more about the outreaches of Degage Ministries … Discuss

 

Boston artist Kenji Nakayama has started creating high-quality, hand-painted signs to replace makeshift cardboard posters used by local homeless people.

Nakayama then interviews each individual and posts their conversations on his Tumblr, HomelessSigns, where readers learn each person’s story and how they can be helped.

On the blog, Nakayama says, “We as a society cannot solve homelessness without first humanizing the homeless.” Read More

 

Carol and Willie Fowler had spent a lot of time planning their daughter’s wedding, but after it was unexpectedly canceled at the last minute, the couple decided to turn the sad situation into an opportunity to help others. The family teamed with a local homeless-aid group called Hosea Feed the Hungry in Atlanta, and organized the first annual “Fowler Family Celebration of Love.” They hosted 200 members of Atlanta’s homeless community for a massive dinner party at the reception hall that was going to be used for the wedding, and fed them the four-course meal originally planned for the post-ceremony celebration. The Fowlers said, “Events are canceled, and sometimes for unknown reasons. Do not allow that opportunity to go to waste. Call up your favorite charity. Give them an opportunity to use that for people that will not have an opportunity, perhaps in life” … Discuss