The Homeless Market
I’m a big believer in end to end charity or social enterprise initiatives. Those charities that do their best to make sure the recipient never needs the charity again. That’s why I’m a big supporter of Centre Point UK. So big in fact I’m sitting here writing this blog in a Centre Point t-shirt and wrist band. They are a great example of a charity that ends the cycle. Check them out >>
I had an idea. Dangerous I know. There are some people that believe that homeless people can get out of homelessness if they use their initiative and some people think they are helpless. I am on the fence. I believe there is always a way, however I also believe that in the UK at least, we don’t make it easy for homeless people to break the chains of their situation. For example there aren’t many employers that will hire homeless people. If homeless people manage to buy some products to resell whether through handouts from the public or on credit (if possible) they can’t sell anywhere without a permit. Which of course they can’t afford. So if no one will employ them or allow them to easily make money, how can they turn it around?
My idea – The Homless Market or 'THM' for the cool kids.
Either a new charity can be formed or the key homeless charities in the UK can merge to secure an area in London once a month to start, where homeless people can sell anything. Without the need to have insurance (covered by the event organiser) or market stall cost. To fund the whole event 5-10% of the homeless persons profit can be paid to the organiser. They will only have to pay if they sell, and then only from profit.
The Homeless Market will give homeless people the opportunity to sell whatever they want, whether that's artwork, crafts or other goods they've bought to resell. The charity could go a step further by creating a wholesale programme. The charity buys various in-demand goods in bulk to get a reduced price, the homeless people can then buy these items at cost to resell for a profit.
In terms of them buying the goods in the first place, they can either use money that has been given to them as handouts or the charity can offer a credit system. They get the goods on loan. What they don't sell they give back, and what they sell they can then pay back the cost.
Other than charities like Centre Point there is no structure or ladder out of homelessness. I see something like The Homeless Market as one idea to create a platform for change, an opportunity to help homeless people help themselves.
Good or bad idea, it's worth thinking about.
What do you think of THM? Can you think of other ways of offering a ladder out of homelessness?
To your success,