Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64and recently it has gained popularity as an easy means of charitable donations. Last year, the company ChangeTip did just that: It partnered with the Philadel- phia-area Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission to create a bitcoin-based giving campaign to fund warm meals for home- less people. The BitGive Foundation is working toward building homes in Brazil and serving mentally disabled homeless people in Mexico—all through virtual giving. Sean’s Outpost, a Pensacola-based homeless shelter, boasts of more than 167,000 meals distributed through bit- coin donations. But bitcoin has another practical use…for some, it could mean the differ- ence between a decent meal and going hungry for yet another day. Some who are struggling with job security are using bitcoin income as an alternative to panhandling: earning small amounts online by watching videos, visiting websites, or taking surveys. Anyone can open a bitcoin wallet (no address or identification required) for free. Websites like allow customers to exchange bitcoin for gift cards, turning virtual currency into an instant meal. While the income is typi- cally miniscule, it can be more secure for homeless individuals than carrying cash. PARASITE SHELTERS S ince 1998, artist Michael Rokowitz has been creating Par- aSITES—inflatable, urban shel- ters that attach to the HVAC vent on any building and are designed to keep homeless people warm. Originally made from trash bags and Ziploc bags, the double-membraned shelters are custom designed to fit spatial requirements and city ordinances. Some are shaped like igloos while others are shaped like an inflated sleeping bag. Rokowitz has created more than 60 shelters in the last 17 years and presented his designs at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. At the cost of just $5 each, this solution is cheap and portable—and could be valuable for wider distribution in problem areas. SUPER SOCKS O riginally, Bombas company used a “one-for-one” business model in the sock industry, do- nating one pair of socks for homeless peo- ple for every pair of socks its customers purchased. The designers soon they real- ized that homeless people have very dis- tinct concerns with regard to footwear. People who wear the same pair often for weeks at a time need socks to be dark colored (so they can hide discoloration), sturdy, and resist “trench foot”—a condi- tion that includes severe deterioration of foot tissue due to wearing the same, often damp socks for long periods of time. The company soon turned to innova- tion and created the “super sock”—a newly designed pair of socks that stays warm in the winter and cool in the sum- mer, lasts longer, and has anti-microbial treatment to deter bacteria and fungus growth. Bombas will soon donate its one millionth pair. Have you seen innovation on the streets? Are there organizations, artists, volunteers, or advocates out there who are thinking of simple, creative ways to solve shelter, food, health services, or job issues for the homeless? If so, email editor@ with info. We’ll put other ideas on AGRM’s website and Facebook page. Ĩ 28 WWW.AGRM.ORG JULY/AUGUST 2016 The company soon turned to innovation and created the “super sock”—a newly designed pair of socks that stays warm in the winter and cold in the summer, lasts longer, and has anti-microbial treatment to deter bacteria and fungus growth. Helen lives in Loveland, Colorado, and has been a writer, editor, and online content developer for more than 20 years. She is a part of the Langham Partnership USA communications team, and works as a consultant on communications for nonprofits and ministries with Cedarstone Partners. She can be reached at More Information For links to the innovative products and ideas in this article, please go to If you have seen (or created!) a unique product or idea to help homeless people, please send a link or a brief description to