Beam - helping people who are homeless get back into work

Thursday, 1 November 2018 - 5:46pm

Beam was awarded first place for Innovation in Technology at the Homeless Link Excellence Awards. In this latest feature, Alex Stephany, CEO and Founder, highlights how Beam works to offer people experiencing homelessness a platform to raise money and help them back into work.

Over the last five years, the number of people in temporary accommodation has risen consistently. Now, over 300,000 people in Great Britain are homeless. They’re mostly sheltered in hostels and temporary accommodation - which makes it difficult for them to enter a sustainable living situation. Not having a reliable, permanent place to call home affects them negatively, from their health to their ability to find work. Beam focuses on the people in this group who are looking for work and aims to help them move out of homelessness and temporary accommodation for good. In turn, this frees up space and resources which can then be allocated to people who are currently rough sleeping.

Beam is a social impact organisation that offers the public an innovative digital approach to homelessness. It focuses on connecting homeless people directly to people who want to support them into a long-term, secure career. People experiencing homelessness are referred to Beam by a range of London-wide charities and non-profit organisations; all of the people that are put forward feel they are ready to move towards employment. Beam then helps individuals who face barriers getting into work by guiding and supporting them through training courses.

Once someone who has been referred becomes established as member on the Beam programme, they meet someone from our team who helps them to work out their goals and aspirations. Together, they figure out what profession the member could move into, as well as finding the relevant training they need. Beam then works with them to prepare an online fundraising campaign for the member’s employment training - detailing their story and background. The campaign also shows potential givers exactly where their money will be spent, including additional materials like books or tools.

During the campaign, Beam members are supported and materials are purchased on their behalf - and once a member is in stable, paid work, they provide mentorship to new Beam members. Every single current Beam member has pledged to repay the value of their campaign back to future members.

Case study

After several years of experiencing problems with alcohol that led to him living in a hostel, Rick was referred to Beam. 514 people came together to help him raise the £4,670 necessary to train as a carpenter. After finishing his training course in August, Rick has started full-time work as a carpenter - and he’s in good company. Beam have put 17 people into work so far, and another 27 are currently in training.

The key to Beam is its sense of community. Once members have joined, they can receive messages of support from those who fund their campaigns, and keep their supporters up-to-date.

At its core, Beam is not just a fundraising platform, but a support network, and a truly different way of giving.