The dating app has teamed up with the Council To Homeless Persons in Australia to launch “Homeless Happns”, in order to bring people’s attention to “invisible homelessness”.
It is a huge issue in the country, with 5% of homeless people classed as rough sleepers and the remaining falling into the bracket of “invisible homeless”.
Jenny Smith from the Council To Homeless Persons explained: “As we go about our business we are going past people who are sleeping in the backs of cars, living in caravan parks, couch surfing with acquaintances, in a range of very temporary overnight arrangements without a place to call home.”
The app usually works by showing users people they have passed in real life, however with “Homeless Happns”, the app now also surfaces profiles of people who have been, or are, homeless.
The app has taken real life stories of homeless people, and if a Happn user walks past somewhere they were living, a profile of the homeless person will pop up on the app.
And if singles open the dating app, the profile explains their story in the spot they used to call home.
For example, Jody lost her job and rental property and was forced to spend three months living in a van parked on the street.
And so every time a Happn user walks past this spot, her profile will appear on the app, showing a photograph of her and explaining her story.
Jody explains why the campaign is so important: “I just don’t feel that I fit the stereotype, and people would walk past you and not take any notice.
“I might not fit, but homelessness still happened to me and it can happen to anyone.
“It’s everywhere, it can be in the city, it can be in the country, it can be just anywhere and it could be anyone.
“We need to change this, so many people need help and we need more services and more houses to solve this problem.”
The campaign has been launched in Melbourne and hopes to extend the soon to expire national homeless fund from the Federal Government, which helps around 80,000 people a year.