The criminalization of homelessness threatens homeless people across the US. At the international level, public perception has moved towards recognizing the human right to housing. Increasingly in academia the problem of homelessness is being framed in the terms of human rights abuses, like war and genocide.
Sean’s Outpost has become possibly the best-known charity in the Bitcoin community. The homeless shelter located in Pensacola, Florida, run by Jason King, first accepted Bitcoin in March 2013.
King has been a common presence in the Bitcoin community, speaking at numerous conferences and expanding upon the ideas which drive Sean’s Outpost.
King ran into problems with a Pensacola, Florida located “homeless sanctuary” – nine wooded acres of land – he forged with the help of donations. The Pensacola City Council passed a “camping ban” ordinance outlawing things such as sleeping outside or using temporary shelter, washing, shaving, preparing food in public and panhandling.
King has plans beyond Sean’s Outpost and Satoshi’s Forest. His most recent endeavor is Beunsung.com. Like the dumpster divers of the analog world, King wants to take a bite out of the millions of dollars in wasted food each year. BeUnsung wants to arbitrage the so-called sharing economy to end hunger in the United States, thus “creating everyday superheroes,” according to the company’s website. King expects Beunsung.com to be online by the end of the year. He compared the idea to Uber or Airbnb. What Uber does for excess space in a car, or Airbnb does for excess space in a home, BeUnsung seeks to do for excess food.
“We want to completely eradicate the food waste problem in the US and with that take away both food insecurity among the impoverished and hunger among the homeless population,” King told CCN.
“[Entrepreneur] Andreas Antonopoulos and I dumpster dove last year, and we procured unopened bags of rice from a Korean restaurant’s dumpster,” he said. “Two weeks later we fed them to the poor.” In his fifteen minute speech at Coin Congress 2015 at San Francisco’s Hilton Union Plaza, King detailed his disgust with food insecurity and hunger in the United States in 2015.
A member in the audience noted the difficulty BeUnsung will meet from regulators. King acknowledged his vision would not be easy, but made it clear it was something he believed in and felt had to come to fruition. He noted that nearly $500 million in waste in thrown away year-after-year.
“It’s ridiculous,” he remarked.
Below is a video of Jason King from Texas Bitcoin Conference:
Images from Sean’s Outpost.