Housing the Homeless with a Text Message

Non-profit organization Pathways to Housing recently launched an innovative campaign to raise awareness about homelessness: an interactive projection, on view at different locations around Manhattan, that uses SMS texting communication to provoke passers-by into thinking about homeless individuals on the streets of New York.

The image of a shivering homeless person lying on the street is projected onto the side of a building and people are encouraged to send a text to a specified number to “help get him off the street.” The text message immediately triggers a new video loop, showing the man getting up and walking into the door of a new apartment. The person who sent the text then receives a message offering them the option of  automatically making a contribution to Pathways to Housing.

The campaign is another example of the increasing proliferation of both interactive and projection technologies in public space as well as the “impulse donation” method of fundraising that made headlines after the earthquake in Haiti.

-Varick Shute, Urban Omnibus Project Manager