Wednesday, April 23, 2014

More efficient night shelters

I was at Charity IT recently, a weekend event where developers help charities with IT projects. The projects selected are small and can be delivered by a small team in 2 days. We have a team member from the charity sitting with us througout, and answering any questions that we have.

One of the charities we worked with is the Wellington Night Shelter. They provide beds for the homeless, and we helped them speed up their reporting. The reports are used to generate more funds.

Many homeless people struggle to find a place to stay out of the wind, the rain and the cold. The night shelter starts admissions at 5:30 PM and there is a queue when it opens. It gets full quickly, and many people are left out at the end of the day to fend for themselves.

While there are so many buildings that are empty at nights.

I realized this last evening, I was walking past a school, and it was closed. It struck me that schools all over the world are closed at nights.

What a waste!

What would it take to make a school a night shelter?

Here are my ideas.

A charity organization needs to organize security, to check how many people are entering the school in the evening. Then they wake up the people in the morning, let them get showered if possible, and then make sure they are out of the building an hour before the first student or the first teacher comes in. Also, arrange for portable beds, which can be folded and put aside in the day time.
I am sure the homeless people will be happy to move a few desks and chairs every evening and put beds in their place, and to move them back in the morning before leaving.

Also, we need to organize security for the homeless peoples belongings. We want them to sleep well at night, and not have to think about who is going to steal some of the few things that they have.

 What this means, is that the parents, the students, the teachers, the staff of the charity organization, and the homeless people, all of them feel safe and secure with this idea and with how it is implemented.

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