How To Use The WeShelter App To Help New York City's Homeless With The Touch Of A Button

Whether you pass a homeless person on the street and want to assist them, or you just want to raise money from your couch, now there's an app called WeShelter that lets you help the homeless in seconds. New York City's homeless population has reached a record high of more than 60,000, according to the city's homeless census, and WeShelter allows you to help by unlocking corporate funds that are sent to homeless organizations. It's essentially donating to charity without spending any of your own money.

There's been a lot of debate about whether or not giving money directly to a homeless person actually helps them get off the street, and the creators of WeShelter wanted to create a new way for people to make a difference. Here's how it works: Every time you tap the button on the app, a donation from a corporate sponsor is given to a local nonprofit. According to the WeShelter website, the amount of money unlocked by each tap depends on the sponsor, but it's usually about five cents. The money goes to three New York City organizations dedicated to helping the homeless — Common Ground, Goddard Riverside Community Center, and Urban Pathways. The app also allows you to get direct help for an individual on the street by calling the city's non-emergency government hotline. Ilya Lyashevsky, one of the founders, told City Lab:

The way we look at it, right now we have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people walking around the streets of cities, and because they don’t have any way of doing something, they don’t do anything. When people engage in a digital way, they are more likely to engage in other ways. We don’t want people to stop at tapping the button.

Here's how to use the WeShelter app to send money to New York City homeless organizations.

Step 1: Create An Account

Once you've downloaded the app, it will ask you to create an account. Don't worry, it only asks for either your e-mail or Facebook to join, and it takes about two seconds. You can also upload a photo if you want to go all out.

Step 2: Tap The Button

Simply tap the giant green button on the screen (trust me, you won't miss it).

Step 3: Say Why You're Donating

After unlocking a donation, it will ask whether or not you're participating because you're near a homeless person. All you have to do is tap the "I'm near a person who is homeless" button at the bottom of the screen. If you're using the app elsewhere just to raise money for the homeless organizations, wait for the next screen. It asks because the app collects location data so the nonprofits know where outreach teams are most needed.

Step 4: Share It

Lastly, you can share that you used WeShelter on your social media profiles and unlock more money. So, if you share your "donation," more money will be given to the designated organization.

Images: WeShelter (5)