Downing Street launch for tech-for-good start-up pledging to end homelessness
Amy Varle, a homelessness campaigner from Greater Manchester who was awarded a prestigious grant to help tackle homelessness during the Covid-19 pandemic, is launching a digital solution to address the issue at scale across Britain.
Ms Varle, who lived in a hostel for young people whilst aged 16, believes her impact-led social networking platform Socially Homes will reach 1 billion people across the globe within the next ten years.
Amy’s work has been supported by the Churchill Fellowship since she was awarded a travelling fellowship in 2016, which allowed her to conduct an international field study and later publish a white paper of policy recommendations.
In 2020, Amy aligned a digital ‘mastermind’ of professionals who could incubate best practice models for reducing homelessness across the country, supporting participants to implement social enterprise strategies to assist and inform their work.
Twelve months on, hundreds of respondents have aligned to create homes for almost one thousand vulnerable individuals, with the diverse member community evidencing a combined £20,000,000+ in public savings to date.
Amy predicts the digital membership platform – which she likens to ‘Uber for Homelessness’ - will help tens of thousands of people in crisis across the country as it rolls out over the next two years.
On Friday 24th September 2021, a diverse group of pilot project contributors will travel from all over the UK to present their preliminary findings and outcomes to the office of the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, before attending a celebratory reception at the Churchill War Rooms in Parliament Square, where future digital designs and strategic enterprise plans will be revealed.
The event will be attended by senior policy and decision-makers, social investment funders, organisations such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Big Issue and HMP Probation Service, as well as stakeholders, investors, developers, advisors, charitable service providers and ex-homeless residents too.
Amy Varle said: “It is beyond my wildest dreams to see everything I’ve been working so hard towards over the last ten years now come so spectacularly to life, via sociallyhomes.com. All I’ve ever wanted is to be able to offer a tangible solution to any person sleeping outdoors and I really feel we are getting close to this now. I’m thrilled to include so many incredible contributors in this special occasion and it is humbling to be able to acknowledge the selfless and invaluable role each person plays in ending homelessness across our nation.”
Jason Petch, Built for Living CIC, formerly homeless advisor to Socially Homes, commented: “I’m very grateful Amy approached me to assist, along with other former or currently homeless people as advisors. The future of homelessness is not simply solved by giving a person a home. It’s about rebuilding a life from scratch with many obstacles to overcome. Yet personal dreams are achievable with the approach of compassion, knowledge, truth - and communities like Socially Homes, who bring together every sector of the solution forward as a team.”
Trevor MacFarlane, on behalf of Lucy Powell, Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, added: “We wish you all the very best with what sounds like a very interesting session! And love that bold branding too!”
Tony McKenzie, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “I am super excited about the launch and especially the digital tech-for-good platform because social housing has been in need of innovation that is companionate and sustainable to address homelessness.”
Susan Dolan, CEO, The Peoples Hub, added: “The Peoples Hub are proud and honoured to support the launch of Socially Homes. We feel this will bring much needed change for people in the UK and beyond.”