For many of us, this particular period of the year is a time for overindulgence and pampering. However, for homeless people, it’s hell.
That’s why N=5, a company based in Amsterdam, has created the ‘Helping Heart’, a contactless payment jacket for the homeless that lets passers-by donate money with the tap of a contactless card. Sickly sweet as its name may be, it’s a genuinely fantastic idea.
Whether genuine or not, the get-out of not having any cash to hand is growing increasingly popular in this new age of NFC and digital wallets, and that’s devastating news for the homeless.
To appease the heartless sceptics among you, donations have a one Euro limit, and the money can only be redeemed through an official homeless shelter, in exchange for a service such as a place to sleep, food or training.
“[Firstly], these days we tend to carry little or no cash at all,” N=5 employee Silvia van Hooft told indy100. “Secondly, most people would like to help the homeless, but they feel that giving money basically goes to supporting addictions. So, we wondered: how we can make it easier for people to help others who need it?
“The only way to redeem the money received this way is through one of the official homeless shelters. The money never goes to the homeless person as cash, but is always redeemed in kind. This way, it can be spent on a place to sleep, a shower or food. The homeless person can also choose to spend it on self-improvement, like vocational training courses or even in building up savings.”
It’s still being trialled, but N=5 hopes to refine the product and eventually scale up production. The jacket looks pretty thick too. [indy100]