Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Oxford University has begun testing a system that gives barcodes to homeless people that enables them to accept donations from others via an app on their smartphone.
Under the Oxford-based Greater Change initiative, the barcodes will be on a laminated card that donors can scan and then input into their phone the amount they want to donate. Alex McCallion, founder of Greater Change, said the plan is to tackle two problems: The fact that people increasingly carry less and less cash and when they do want to give money to a homeless person, they worry about what the money will be spent on.
"So the solution we've come up with is a giving mechanism through your smart phone with a restrictive fund," McCallion told the BBC.
Under Greater Change, the money goes to an account managed by the homeless person's caseworker, who then makes sure the funds go to helping the person get needed items.
MP Neil Coyle, the Labour Party's co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ending Homelessness, said praised the plan as a way to "try and help generate more public donations to homeless people."
"This intervention should not be necessary but with a government ignoring the scale of the problem, any extra donations may help homeless people directly," Coyle told The Telegraph.
But Greater Change isn't just a way to donate money. According to The Oxford Student, the donor can learn more about the person they've donated to via the app, which may include their biographical information, such as how they became homeless and what they hope to do to get out of their predicament.
Greater Change is being trialed at Oxford with support from Oxford University Innovation, Oxford's Said Business School and crowdfunding.