Zac Clark, founder and executive director of the HomeMore project in San Francisco, returns to share an update. The HomeMore Project distributed several hundred solar-powered backpacks, the Makeshift Traveler, which includes a built-in charging station with an AM/FM radio, rechargeable flashlight, sleeping bag and other necessities. When we first spoke with Zac in January 2022, when he was a junior at the University of San Francisco, the Makeshift Traveler was a prototype. Today, the organization has delivered hundreds of backpacks and expanded the program to other parts of California.
Homelessness has been on the rise in the United States since 2015. As of 2022, a housing and urban development survey found that more than 582,000 people were living on the streets – about 18 people per 10,000 Americans. Getting off the streets requires connecting to wireless services, with all the necessary technology, from a mobile phone, which around 70% of homeless people have, to chargers and access to information to find resources, treatment for medical and addiction issues, and applying for work. In March, the HomeMore project secured its first government contract, delivering 60 MakeShift Travelers for homeless veterans in Palo Alto, California. You can learn more about the HomeMore project and its MakeShift Traveler backpack at thehomemoreproject.org.