This Gift Card for the Homeless Could Solve the Panhandling Epidemic


A Virginia city issued a warning to motorists last month to not give money directly to panhandlers who they believe are homeless.

Coincidentally, across the country in San Francisco where escalating and astronomically-priced housing would drive people onto the streets, a homeless service StartUp hosted a launch of a homeless gift card initiative.


HandUp unveiled the availability of $25 HandUp Gift Cards as a way to  more conveniently give to the homeless population with trust the donation will go to much needed services and not booze or drugs.

hand up

The start up started as a crowdfunding site for homelessness donations. It has since funneled the money collected onto $25 HandUp gift cards. HandUp partnered up with San Francisco-based Project Homeless Connect which offers sites where the cards can be “cashed” in exchange for food or other sustenance goods.

Since launching the gift cards, creator of the initiative Rose Broome says that Project Homeless Connect has been at max capacity with people flooding the offices to redeem gift cards. She is currently looking for other locales in San Francisco to serve as redemption centers for the gift cards.

HandUp has raised close to $900,000 dollars from small to large contributors and investors including Jason Calacanis, Marc Benioff, Eric Ries and SV Angel.

It’s a great idea that should expand to other areas of the country.

photo: courtesy Daily Dot