Panhandling is an age-old and complex challenge faced by cities worldwide, but the founders of StreetChange believe that technology could provide new solutions that benefit everyone. In partnership with the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania (MHASP), StreetChange will use mobile technology, e-commerce and Bluetooth technology to incentivize Philadelphians who are both homeless and panhandling to visit or return to social services. StreetChange will also provide pedestrians with a modern and simple way to make donations and ensure that their generosity has a positive impact. By facilitating beneficial transactions between homeless individuals and the pedestrians and social services organizations wishing to assist them, this solution has the potential to positively impact the way cities address panhandling nationwide.
Update: Led by its Founder Andrew Siegel and Managing Partner Dan Treglia, StreetChange has taken major strides since it received its first funding, from Barra, in December 2015. In addition to completing the app’s development and launching their website, StreetChange has conducted a beta test with support from Mental Health Association of Southeastern PA, which informed improvements to the app and helped them strengthen proposals to funders, investors and partners. They have engaged critical stakeholders including the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services and Center City District and have begun meetings with other homeless services providers to understand how the platform could provide greater value to this group. They have also received strong media coverage, including several local publications and a video produced by Verizon and Upworthy that has been viewed more than 3.5 million times. StreetChange is in the process of developing a business plan, including formalizing partnerships with providers. StreetChange is seeking funders and investors so that it can build its team and launch the app in summer of 2017.