5 Start Ups That Fight Homelessness With Innovation

On any given night, one in 200 Australians are homeless.

There are currently 105237 people homeless in Australia right now.

That’s a scary number.

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Considering the resources we have at hand, you’d hope it’s a problem humanity could solve, but in the meantime there are a number of companies fighting the good fight, doing their best to help in unique, innovative ways. Their goal: make life easier for homeless people living on the street.

Companies like…

1. Orange Sky

Orange Sky is a laundry service.

A mobile laundry service that caters specifically to homeless people.

After spending time volunteering to help the homeless, Orange Sky founders Lucas Patchett and Nicholas Marchesi realised they wanted to do more to help homeless people in Australia. Their first thought: a food van. Their second thought was a little more innovative. The ability to wear clean clothes every day is something we take for granted. What if there was a way to afford homeless people the same right?

And that’s where the idea of building a mobile laundry for the homeless came from.

Lucas and Nicholas are planning to roll out the Orange Sky service throughout all major cities in Australia by the end of July this year.

Orange Sky currently has 450 people volunteering to help the service, but is always looking for more hands. You can donate to Orange Sky here. It costs Orange Sky $6 to wash and dry a batch of clothes, so every dollar helps.

2. Bombas

How good are clean socks?

How good are new socks?

Bombas is a company that makes very good socks. Bombas socks are super innovative. You know that annoying bump that socks have on their toes? Bombas don’t have those. Bombas are also engineered to stay up on your calves instead of sagging around you ankles like terrible socks tend to do.

But the best part: for every pair of socks purchased, Bombas donates a free pair to the homeless — which is pretty incredible.

Especially when you consider that socks are the most requested items in homeless shelters. It’s a legitimate truth that a good pair of socks could change someone’s life for the better.

3. Backpack Bed For Homeless

The Backpack Bed For Homeless is a backpack bed so good it’s been awarded seven product design awards, including perhaps the most famous design award of all — the German 2011 Red Dot “Best of the Best”. Previously known as Swags for Homeless, this team won the 2011 Australian Human Rights award for best Community Organisation.

This charity was initially set-up solely to raise money and create Backpack Beds for homeless people being turned away from shelters. They’re light, waterproof, fire retardant and built for all weather conditions.

Incredibly, people loved the bed so much they wanted to buy one for themselves, so now the Backpack Bed For Homeless Charity is set up in a way to take advantage of that, and help even more homeless people sleep with a little more dignity.

4. The Street Store

The Street Store is free.

It’s premises free, rent free, and free free. The Street Store is a pop-up store that allows people to easily donate clothes to the homeless, but also makes it super easy for homeless people to collect the clothes donated.

The idea: create a clothes shopping experience that is dignified, that allows homeless people to choose clothes they actually want, as opposed to whatever they can find via different means.

The best part: you can easily run your own store wherever you live and wherever there’s a need.

Head here for more details.

5. The EMPWR Coat

The EMPWR Coat is a water resistant jacket that can also transform into a sleeping bag. It also doubles (triples?) as an over the shoulder bag.

But the EMPWR coat is more than just an item of clothing, it’s a fully functional plan. The charity behind the coat, The Empowerment Plan, started life in Detroit and focuses primarily on elevating families. They hire single parents from local shelters and provide training to help create the The EMPWR Coat. Since 2012 The Empowerment Plan has employed 34 homeless people and provided EMPWR coats to over 15,000 people through the US and Canada.

You can find out more about The Empowerment Plan here.

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