Homeless SMS is text messaging service for people in a socially isolated position, to stay in contact with care workers and to build an informal support network.
This service comes to the aid of many clients and care workers as they often cannot reach each other, making it difficult to build and maintain their relationships. This can lead to missed appointments, backlashes and high costs. The service was designed, tried and enhanced in close cooperation with a group of homeless young people, employees of care institutions and others involved.
Text messaging is already in use as an approachable, reliable and inexpensive communication tool. It is less 'frightening' to send a text message than to make a call, and messages can be saved for later. The text messaging service works on the lowcost cell phones that almost all homepless people usually carry with them. No smartphone or internet connection is needed (like with email, Skype or WhatsApp). For the clients, the service is free. Care workers can use a user-friendly web page that suits their own communication needs.
Homeless SMS was developed in Eindhoven, together with the Salvation Army, GGzE and the foundation Neos based on the experiences of a pilot in England. In this pilot, a cooperation between 25 homeless people and a large care centre in Londen, it was shown that text messaging can be an effective communication tool for the homeless. Initiators of this pilot were designers/entrepreneurs Ohyoon Kwon and Jonas Piet.
Waag developed and implemented the technical infrastructure.