With homelessness increasing in most developed cities across the globe many organisations and governments are looking for practical solutions that will ease the desperate situation that homelessness or sleeping rough can bring.
Everyone can help and events and the events industry have a role to play.
The most effective type of event that can make a difference is a hackathon.
Hackathons are the most practical of events and are also the simplest.
Organisations who are looking for some creative and innovative ideas or support, present to a group of community spirited hackers.
Those hackers, most, but not all, are normally tech savvy millennials, then start to 'hack' those problems.
But as the organiser I am very keen to point out: everyone is welcome at hackathon, and it is not just digital natives who attend. Often attendees find a way to use their skills like never before:
"I wanted to help with rough sleeping but had no idea how to do that" one of my attendees told me at my first homeless hackathon in Glasgow in 2018.
She continued, “but turning up here and putting my design skills to use has allowed me to be part of an exciting project"
Hackers join a team and work over the weekend with a target to deliver useful, practical and always innovative, ways of delivering help to the homeless communities in the cities they live and work.
The more hacks that take place, the more solutions are created.
The first event in this global series takes place in Edinburgh on the 20.21.22 March with further events in Barcelona, Chicago, Dundee and London.
So do they work?
Simon Community, a charity that provides front line support to rough sleepers in Glasgow and Edinburgh were involved in the first ever homeless hackathon in Glasgow in 2018.
"At the Homeless Hackathon, an amazing group of people took a problem and created a solution in a short space of time that will allow us to get to people who need our help sooner and dramatically improve the communication between worried members of the public and our Street Team"
Sometimes the solutions are small but always meaningful and occasionally they have the potential to make a significant positive impact and even save lives.
The potential for success of these hackathons has been boosted by support from the PCMA Foundation, the charitable arm of the world’s largest association for event professionals. Gallus Events are of course keen to find several more global sponsors.
Financial support will allow the events to really make a difference by creating jobs for two people who are or have experienced homelessness. Those two new Project Managers will develop the best hacks to make sure that they achieve their potential.
All we can do as the organisers is to put on the event.
That’s how we help.
By allowing others to engage with the organisations struggling to cope with a homelessness crisis, in a way that allows them to achieve what they often think is impossible. To help.
You can book to attend, offer to mentor, support or sponsor any of the series of global homeless hackathons.
Visit www.gallusevents.co.uk to find our more about the events or support the Edinburgh hackathon: http://bit.ly/edihomelesshack