The city of Austin, Texas, received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in order to explore the benefits of a blockchain identity platform for homelessness. This according to a press release published August 2, 2019 on Govtech.com.
Blockchain for Homeless
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is the United States’ largest philanthropy which aims to improve the health and health care of all Americans through grants. The company was founded in 1972 by Robert Wood Johnson II, President of Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest health products maker, and currently manages $11 billion dollars in assets, generating grants for a total of almost $500 million dollars a year.
RWJF grants are mainly focused on solving health problems like childhood obesity or general access to care but also social and economic factors that are linked with health such as violence quality of housing or poverty, and it is precisely for this last factor that a $409,000 grant was conceded to the city of Austin, Texas.
The initiative was launched in such a way to explore the benefits of using advanced technologies to help homeless individuals access to social and health services. In particular, the funds will be used for the creation of a blockchain-enabled digital identity platform that will guarantee a secure way to provide identity verification that is necessary to access health care.
Homelessness has long been a part of the social fabric of Austin; from 2015, homelessness has grown 23% from 1,832 people to 2,225.
[Image Source: Gatehouse News]
The project will be managed by Austin’s office of innovation which previously created a proof of concept in 2018 as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge. The prototype, named MyPass, gave excellent results that allowed to prove that such kind of solution can allow homeless people to access public services.
Austin’s office of innovation will have up to July 2020 to access the grant. In order to succeed in their mission, they will hire a team of four to develop a solution that can guarantee to homelessness a secure way to record information necessary to access health and social services.