Beam has changed the lives of nearly 200 people and has helped give them a career, pride and true independence.
Homelessness in Britain is a huge problem. According to analysis conducted by Shelter in November last year, an estimated 320,000 people are homeless in Britain with the number still rising, which is devastating.
Multiple charities like The Big Issue, Crisis and Salvation Army, to name a few, do great work to help to support those and eradicate homelessness altogether.
But for every one person living on the streets, there are around 30 people living in unsuitable accommodation such as homeless hostels, B&Bs or sofa surfing. There’s now a different kind of platform helping homeless into work.
Beam is the world’s first crowdfunding platform for homeless people.
Launched by Alex Stephany in 2017, Beam crowdfunds new career opportunities for homeless men and women.
These careers can vary from hairdressing to accounting and Beam helps to provide them with a support network.
Beam’s support specialists conduct basic security checks to make sure the referred person is mentally and physically ready to enter full-time employment. After that they help each person develop a tailored career plan, building on their unique strengths and interests.
The website lets anyone “meet” homeless people who have been referred by Beam’s partners and make a long-term investment in their futures by funding training they will need.
Beam also helps to fund other financial barriers the homeless people might face, like work tools or childcare, with all costs transparently laid out in each campaign’s “Budget”.
However, the impact goes way beyond just funding an individual’s campaign.
Stephany told Forbes: “More than 200 people fund each member’s campaign. Many of them write messages with their donation that hugely boost the confidence of the member. Imagine what that feels like if you’ve been homeless, marginalized and out of work for years or decades.”
Importantly, Beam gives each member a caseworker to guide them on their “Journey” through training and into work. People who donate to a campaign then become a “supporter” and will get regular updates from the person they’ve helped by email.
Look no further than the evidence that 198 people’s lives have been changed for the better. This is incredible, and it’s only the beginning.
For anyone who is passionate about making an impact in helping to tackle Britain’s homelessness issue, Beam makes it easy. This ‘people-powered community’ is already numbering in the thousands and helping to defeat homelessness.
Beam ensures every campaign is funded at a similar rate; 80% of its donations are split between all the campaigns so there will never be one that does not meet its target goal.
A Beam spokesperson told Oh My Goodness that on average, campaigns for each homeless person have been funded in 29 days, which alone tells you of the massive support behind what Beam does.
“It really depends on how much they need to raise, as this can vary, [for example] some people only need to raise £900, while others may need to raise up to £7,000. This is the beauty of crowdfunding – it’s a very personalised model.”
Significantly, Beam supports people all the way through training and into work. They check in with everyone once they’ve been in work for 3 months, and then at 6 months, to ensure their situation is stable.
Beam is also not just supporting homeless people into work, but is helping beyond.
Beam’s spokesperson added: “We’re also increasingly supporting people into more stable housing as well. For example, we’ve started to raise the first month’s rent and deposit for a number of homeless people, so that they can move into permanent accommodation.
“This is something we’re hoping to grow, so that we can support people not only with their job needs, but also housing. The average starting salary for someone using Beam is actually quite high – £28k – so it’s a decent foundation to save for a rental deposit [or] first month’s rent.
“A good number of people we support are also on the list to move into social housing (particularly our cohort of single mums), so they will generally wait until something comes available, as this is the best option for them.”
With Beam you can either choose to give a one-off donation to a specific individual, or you can let Beam allocate the donation on your behalf to the campaign most in need.
You can also become a monthly subscriber, and Beam will automatically allocate your donation to slower-to-fund campaigns each month.
Beam works with charities and local authorities in the UK who refer people to them and the crowdfunding platform ultimately helps to create a bright future for them.
Stephany added: “This is about empowering people to support themselves and leave behind homelessness for good. But it’s also about providing employers with a new and diverse talent pool.”
If you would like to learn more about where Beam began and the life-changing work that they do or if you would like to help support their amazing work, you can visit their website here.
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