City Of Austin, Texas To Use Blockchain For Homelessness ID Support In MyPass Initiative


Austin, Texas has found another way to use the blockchain technology to benefit the public. They are presently working with multiple entities in the area to develop an identification system that thrives on the blockchain. Optimally, this program will also help the homeless to track information about their identification as well.

There are many companies that believe that the blockchain industry has the power to make a difference with several social issues that the economy faces. IBM has been one of the companies involved in this use case, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This project is meant to support medical professionals to monitor prescriptions and current treatment plans. Some contributors even suggest that this type of tracking system could even reduce the opioid crisis in the US.

As far as relating these issues to homelessness, the City of Austin has been quick to step up. The recent growth in the area has contributed to the rise of housing cost, which is bad news for the homeless. There have been private services available for aid, but the lack of ability to identify the homeless makes it difficult. While most people no longer carry identifying documents while homeless, there is also an entirely separate demographic – the homeless that never acquired identification.

The Chief Services Officer in Austin, Sly Majib, believes that identity issues are the most difficult to resolve, considering that the homeless often do not keep any identification available. Something as small as the wrong document getting wet or a backpack being stolen could mean the end of the paper trail. The loss of this information makes it increasingly more difficult for the homeless to regain their standing and transition back into society. To work on the solution, the city has been working alongside both the University of Texas’ Dell Medical School and the Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services for a better option.

This trio is basically working on a blockchain system that would allow individuals to log their digital records, phone numbers, email addresses, and other identifying documents. The project is being called the MyPass Initiative, and it has been awarded a grant worth $100,000 as part of the Mayor’s Challenge, which is a competition for innovative ideas.

Some prototypes have already been tested on homeless individuals, which has given them some idea of what changes need to be made, and what aspects are functioning as expected.

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