DDN Oct_2022 Octoober 2022 | Page 6



A safe and secure currency for people experiencing homelessness has been launched to help bring choice back to those on the streets . Jon Hope explains its purpose and how the scheme is being adopted across the UK

World Homeless Day always brings our work into sharp focus . Although the government provided temporary support for rough sleepers during the pandemic in many parts of the UK , the situation for those on the streets is now worse – especially with many people continuing to work from home and spending less time in town and city centres . This means there ’ s less awareness of the problem , but according to the Observer 130,000 households were made homeless in 2020 *, and this year the cost-of-living crisis and risk of a deep recession will only make things worse .

BillyChip was the idea of my late son , Billy Abernethy-Hope , who was an ambulance driver in Bristol . After helping support those on the streets himself – both personally and through his work – Billy was left disheartened at how little the general public gave to homeless people , for fear of the money being used for drugs or alcohol . Billy ’ s ambition was to find a solution to this problem and the seeds of the BillyChip scheme were sown .
After losing Billy in a road accident in Thailand our family established The BillyChip Foundation in 2018 as part of our commitment to create a legacy for Billy . The BillyChip is the first currency platform for those who are homeless or sleeping rough , and helps remove stigma – allowing members of the public to overcome some of the barriers they might have when choosing whether to give . Although BillyChip is not the solution to homelessness , it can play a huge part in supporting those living rough .
HOW THE SCHEME WORKS BillyChip is the first scheme of its type in the UK , and offers a safe and secure currency . People can buy a BillyChip token online or from participating food and drink outlets – most often , we see people adding a BillyChip to their own tea or coffee order at a café . The purchased
According to Shelter 274,000 people were registered homeless in 2021 , and 70,000 households were under threat of becoming homeless .