Homeless people in the Dutch cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam have been testing a jacket equipped with a contactless terminal to enable passersby to tap their contactless cards and make a €1 (US$1.04) donation, which can then be redeemed through official homeless shelters.
The Helping Heart jacket has been designed by a Dutch advertising agency to make it easier for people who tend to carry little or no cash to help others, N=5’s Merel Hoogendorp told NFC World.
“In a warm and comfortable winter coat, we integrated a device which allows people to donate one euro by tapping their card on it,” Hoogendorp says. “The only way to redeem the money received this way is through one of the official 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.”
Safe and affordable
“Several homeless people were involved in trialling this prototype jacket,” Hoogendorp continues. “With this prototype, we want to test different scenarios to not just identify improvement areas from a product perspective, but also to identify potential partners with which to roll this idea out further.
“Our aim is to be able to produce — at scale — a version that’s safe, compact and affordable so that it becomes helpful for everyone who needs it.”
“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback, most notably from the homeless community,” Hoogendorp adds. “They have embraced the fact that it takes away the concern of how your donation will be spent.
“Organisations for the homeless are also very positive about the fact that it contributes to more than just immediate challenges — the possibility for a homeless person to use donations to better themselves through education and savings is seen as a huge benefit.”