Ireland is facing a homeless crisis with 2017 being the worst on record to date. Dublin City Council is expected to allocate 142 million Euros to the homeless crisis budget in 2018. This article outlines how blockchain can be used to reduce the homeless crisis in Ireland by providing better access to assistance programs, reducing the cost of administration and providing detailed audit trails to reduce fraud.

1. Digital Identities provide instant access to Assistance

AidTech CEO & Founder: Joeseph Thompson

The administration involved in authenticating claimants is a significant cost for charities and the state. It also delays access to essential resources for those who need it most.For example, delays can occur due to difficulties in getting hold of documentation like birth certs, ID’s and bank statements. The waiting times for certain benefits in Ireland can range between 1 to 40 weeks.

How Blockchain Will Help:

Blockchain would provide digital identities for citizens which would enable claimants to instantly prove that they qualify. In addition, they would instantly receive the assistance they are entitled to. Read how an Irish Company AID, Tech offers blockchain solutions to help United Nations and European Commission with refugee problems by providing digital identities to those who need it most.

2. Reducing Admin Costs & Ensuring Accountability

Governments have to balance providing assistance to the those who need it whilst controlling costs. Research has found that the average percentage of losses due to fraud is 6.5% and can be as high as 27.15% which means those who need it lose out. Controls are required to reduce the threat of fraud.

How Blockchain Will Help: Blockchain would enable the government and charities to reduce the admin resources required to authenticate and track spending. Transactions could be approved instantly on the Blockchain without the approval of administration staff. Detailed audit trails would provide agencies with real time views of where funds are being allocated and provide more data to support better strategy.

Source: Irish Times

3. The Digital Wallet

There is significant administration involved in processing social welfare payments and food stamps. It is very difficult for charities and the government to track how people spend their benefits.

How Blockchain Will Help: Blockchain would enable claimants to carry digital wallets. These wallets would enable instant access to funds on real time. No more waiting in lines or processing times. A claimant could use this digital wallet to buy important supplies in stores or books for children whilst the government could ensure that these funds are being spent appropriately.



4. Create a Donor Network & Make More Efficient use of funds

A significant amount of donations are consumed by administration costs. In addition, donors cannot track where their donation is spent. This can discourage donors from making contributions. Imagine you could see that your donation enabled a kid buy books for their education? You would be more likely to donate, right?  

How Blockchain Will Help:

Blockchain would enable donors to donate money from an app and trace where their donations are being spent in real time. Donors would be able to see how much of their funds are used to feed a family, buy books or access accommodation. Blockchain would reduce admin costs so as to make more efficient use of these donations and to ensure they are being used appropriately.

Other Countries are already engaging similar projects

I realize that there are many factors that contribute to the problem of homelessness and that blockchain on it’s own will not eradicate homelessness. Blockchain however will

  1. Ensure those who are entitled to benefits get timely access to those benefits
  2. Make more efficient use of donations and investments by reducing admin costs
  3. Improve accountability to reduce fraud and wasteful use of funds
  4. Encourage citizens in Ireland to donate funds through real time metrics

Other government bodies like the UK and the city of New York are already looking to leverage blockchain to address social challenges. Maybe, Ireland ( a “Technology Leader”) will do the same?

Check out these amazing Irish companies leading the Blockchain transformation. 


Breiffni O Domhnaill is the Head of Business Development & Sales for Propylon in North America and a board member of Digital Irish.