My colleagues in the Microsoft UK Citizenship team have brought to my attention the following application of technology to homeless and vulnerable people that I think will interest local authorities and police forces in particular.  Called the ‘virtual backpack’ it provides an always accessible and secure online repository where homeless and vulnerable people can keep all their personal information.

We all rely heavily on our personal information being stored in our home and on our technology devices for ease of use and access. The Virtual Backpack has launched as a new online storage facility for homeless and vulnerable people, providing them with a safe place to store all their personal information.

The Virtual Backpack has been designed by Active Web Solutions Ltd (also see previous posting on RNLI MOB Guardian solution for another example of where AWS are applying cloud computing to practical customer solutions) in partnership with Microsoft and the second biggest homeless charity, St Basils. Because the information is stored online, it can be accessed from any online device anywhere in the world and unlike a phone or computer it can never be stolen, lost or broken.

St Basils has seen great success with it already with homeless youngsters in Birmingham using it to store precious information and documents including, medical details, National Insurance details, passport scan, address history, CV & job history, key contacts and passwords, safe in the knowledge that only they can put things in, take things out and look inside.

With the desire to reduce homelessness and help people into housing and employment, these key pieces of information are imperative to help them access vital local authority services. Virtual Backpack is making it easier for people to have any documentation that might be required to help improve their employment, health and living conditions.

You can find out more about the Virtual Backpack solution here.

Posted by Ian