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'Beacon of hope': Louisvillians can now use a mobile app to donate to homeless people directly

Seattle-born app 'Samaritan' has now made its way to Louisville. On the app you can donate directly to people in need.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A new mobile app is being launched in the Louisville area that aims to help support those impacted by homelessness.

Access Ventures has teamed up with Samaritan, a mobile application that originated in Seattle and helps community members provide financial support to those in need, according to a press release.

Through this partnership, the app is now available in the Louisville area. Samaritan, which has now officially launched to the public, allows Louisvillians to donate directly to an individual in need.

Bryce Butler, Managing Director for Access Ventures, said the partnership with Samaritan will allow community members to be a "beacon of hope" to so many Louisvillians in need.

“Homelessness often tends to be a topic of discussion that makes people uncomfortable, but in reality, this is a problem that thousands of our community members face,” Butler said.

The Samaritan app allows those in need to create profiles that share their story and the barriers they’re facing. 

According to the press release, each unhoused member is assigned a case manager they meet with regularly to help them identify action steps that will help reach their housing goals.

As members reach their goals, they are reportedly rewarded with payments of up to $20 to further incentivize taking proactive steps towards securing safe, stable housing.

App users, or “Samaritans,” can learn the stories of people they pass by on a daily basis, contribute towards emergent needs (such as food, clothing, bus passes), and send messages of encouragement. 

Over the last several weeks, we've sent a series of emails to samaritans asking for support to help meet member needs....

Posted by Samaritan on Wednesday, August 17, 2022

According to Samaritan, more than 50% of Samaritan members have measurably improved access to housing, care and critical utilities over the course of a year.

Homelessness in Louisville increased by 41% from 2018 to 2021, according to the Louisville Coalition for the Homeless. The organization primarily attributes the increase in homelessness to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jonathan Kumar, Founder of Samaritan, said the app empowers homeless people to "move forward".

“It’s not about changing the world – it’s about changing someone’s world right now," Kumar said. "Through our app and the generosity of the Louisville community, this is a possibility that’s already begun."

To learn more, click here. To participate and download the app, click here.

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