Could this be the solution to homelessness?
A British charity is getting ready to install its first vending machine tailored specifically to homeless people, offering free “24/7 access to food, clothing, and other basic necessities.”
“My hope is that the idea takes root in cities all over the world, and the homeless have a life-line to rely on, while government policies work towards ending homelessness for once and for all,” Huzaifah Khaled, the founder of Action Hunger, told Fox News.
The machine will be placed at a shopping center in Nottingham, England, in early December and Khaled says they will be expanding the effort to American cities in early 2018, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
“The idea was borne out of a desire to help the homeless,” Khaled said. “It came about when I was struck by the rising number of homeless in the United Kingdom, and realized there had to be a way to ensure they had 24/7 access to food, clothing, and other basic necessities, and without being limited to the fairly disparate opening hours of the various shelters and charities that exist.”
The machines will dole out water, fruit, energy bars, toothbrushes, sanitary towels – and even books. Action Hunger says around half of the items will be received from redistribution organizations and grocer Tesco, while the charity will purchase the other half.
Usage of the Nottingham machine – donated by N&W Global Vending – is permitted to three times a day to around 100 special cardholders, who must check in weekly with The Friary, a local homeless outreach facility, to keep using it.
“We want our low-cost solution to complement other services that are available, as engagement with professionals and local support services is instrumental to breaking the cycle of homelessness, and getting these men and women off the streets for good,” Khaled told Fox News.
Friary CEO Sam Crawford said “rough sleepers” will be at the front of the line to receive the cards.
"Not everyone who visits us is a rough sleeper, some are homeless in other ways such as those in temporary accommodation, so that would be who we would prioritize,” Crawford told the Nottingham Post.