Matt Nawrat looks at ‘TAP London’, and a new hope for tackling homelessness in the capital
As reported by the BBC, the number of rough-sleepers in the UK has risen by 134% since 2010, while the charity ‘Streets of London’ has quoted as many as 8,000 in London alone. While some Londoners’ resolve to help is undeniable, in acts of random kindness and generosity such as giving cash and food, there is some feeling that we are not addressing the long-term issues of London’s homelessness crisis.
‘TAP London’ could be the answer to this. Launched at the end of November as a non-profit organisation, it is an innovative, simple and impactful initiative that seeks a solution to the issue of homelessness in London, one tap at a time.
It Employs individuals facing homelessness as street vendors, selling £3 ‘artcards’ to pedestrians without the complications of a subscription. Each inspiring card is designed by local artists, and contains a topical image, as well as interesting comments on the news of the week.
The simplicity of TAP’s approach is in their acceptance of contactless payment, which adds much needed security and ease to the process of donation and drives out the classic “I don’t have any change” excuse mumbled by commuters. In each tap, all money contributes to a London Living Wage salary for street vendors, as well as donations to partnered charities ‘Shelter from the Storm’ and ‘New Horizon’.
‘Shelter from the Storm’ is based in King’s Cross, and has achieved remarkable success despite a lack of government funding. Started as a free emergency night shelter 2007, they provide a bed and food for 42 homeless people each night of the year. ‘New Horizon Youth Centre’ works with young homeless individuals, providing benefits, employment and accommodation assistance in order to get them back on their feet.
TAP’s achievements have increased throughout their short history. Despite having only been active for a month, they have employed 5 vendors and received over 500 donations.
As Polly Gilbet, one of TAP’s founders, told Pi Media: “We are thrilled with the results of our first month of operations. Thanks to generous members of the public, and their own hard graft, our vendors have been able to get themselves off the streets. 2018 is going to be a very exciting year for TAP. We have plans to hire 15 more vendors, and to expand our contactless offering into local pubs and cafes, allowing Londoners to continue to give to homelessness without hassle or signups.”
With this new approach, TAP London is combining simple technology with meaningful fundraising, in fighting for a better, safer London.