In the Netherlands the number of homeless people is increasing whilst people who carry small change is decreasing. The PIN-coat could partially help break this negative trend.
The end of a very old excuse
In our increasingly cashless society you’ve probably experienced this yourself... you would like to help a homeless person by giving him some small change but you can’t because you don’t have anything in your wallet other than bank cards. Or maybe you do have some change, but you may not want to give money to a homeless person if you expect it will be spent on booz or drugs.
In Amsterdam they just started a trial with the PIN-coat (in Dutch PIN-Jas), aimed at addressing these issues so we can be more generous towards homeless people. There are no more excuses 😉
In the Netherlands the number of homeless people has increased by 74% between 2009 and 2015, according to the Central Buro for Statistics. This means that about 31,000 people can do with every bit of support they can get. Two important reasons why people decline to give to a homeless person are 1) they don’t want to subsidise a possible addiction and 2) they have no cash at hand.
Annemiek van Bemmelen of the Amsterdam homeless shelter "Stoelenproject" states in Het Parool: "A device which solves both problems, would be ideal". This inspired the Dutch advertising agency N=5 to develop the PIN-Jas, in collaboration with the ABN AMRO bank. A pre-programmed wireless card reader and mobile phone are sewed into the winter jacket. Carla, who is homeless, is one of the two people pilotting the PIN-coat. "It is great fun to explain to people how it works" says Carla. "I now have much more interaction with people than before."
It works really simple. When someone is willing to donate, Carla pushes a button in her coat to activate the card reader. She points to her chest where she has a small display. People can simply swipe their contactless bank card for a second and donate. To keep it simple one can only give a fixed amount of €1. And that’s it. And when the donor checks his/her bank account statement, one sees a personal thank you message from the homeless person.
Through partner organisations participating in this trial, the donated money can only be spent on food, a place to sleep and personal hygiene. If the trial is successful, it is likely that homeless shelters will manage the proceeds on behalf of the homeless people. If more money is donated than necessary, the surplus could be saved to eventually pay for educational purposes or to pay the deposit for a rental house.
Not for everything nor for everyone
Not every homeless person is expected to be excited to wear the PIN-coat. "To homeless people who rather spent it on beer, the jacket is of no use. They will prefer cash money. But it’s the group of people that want to turn their lifes around, who will benefit from this tremendously" says Annemiek van Bemmelen.
Source: het Parool 22 December 2016