The new app called WeShelter combines new tech with charity. It lets New Yorkers help the homeless. If you are walking down a busy Manhattan street and see someone homeless, you can help just by tapping the app.
This is a beautiful example of someone engaging in the practice of “Tikkun Olam”: The Jewish concept of “repairing” the world through charity and good deeds.
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The app’s website explains, “In our home city of New York, the homeless population has skyrocketed in recent years to levels not seen since the Great Depression, and the story is the same in other major cities. Many feel the urge to help but don’t know how best to do it. Giving someone spare change won’t help the person get off the street, and calling 311 (as NYC recommends) isn’t always practical.”
So what does WeShelter do? When you use the app it directs a charitable donation from a corporation to a local organization that helps the homeless.
So if you ever had that feeling of helplessness when you wish you could do something upon seeing someone just lying in the street, if you live in new York you no longer need to feel so helpless.
The app, created by Robb Chen-Ware, Ilya Lyashevsky, a graduate student at Columbia University, and Ken Manning, who has worked on a number of high tech projects, declares its mission to use mobile technology to allow everyone to contribute to ending homelessness.
Ilya Lyashevsky told City Lab, “The way we look at it, right now we have hundreds of thousands if not millions of people walking around the streets of cities, and because they don’t have any way of doing something, they don’t do anything. When people engage in a digital way, they are more likely to engage in other ways. We don’t want people to stop at tapping the button.”