Start-up helps Seattle homeless man find new home
SEATTLE - A Seattle homeless man now has a place to call home after living on the street for three-and-half years.
Charles Cole lived in Seattle for 15 years before moving to North Carolina after driving a truck across the country.
Cole moved back to Seattle after being diagnosed with diabetes, but ended up homeless. The rents were much higher than he remembered, he says.
Now a technology start-up company is helping Cole share his story with others and find a new place to live.
Give Safe offers people an opportunity to anonymously donate to homeless individuals through an app on their phone.
The app gives the potential donor a snapshot of the beacon holder's life, struggles and goals via a Bluetooth beacon.
Cole is Give Safe’s first-ever client.
Money donated through the app goes into that person’s account for them to spend at partner stores, such as Goodwill or Grocery Outlets, Give Safe says.
Beacon holders must meet with a counselor every month if they want to keep their beacon activated, the company says.
While homeless, Cole says he wasn’t getting proper nutrition for his diabetes. Six years ago, doctors had to amputate all of the toes from his right foot.
He also ended up with a tumor on his heart the size of a tennis ball, he says. Doctors removed the tumor, but the wound became infected and sent Cole to the hospital.
This time, doctors had to remove some of Cole’s rib cage and replace it with a steel plate in his chest.
Give Safe hopes the new program will help people like Cole gain easier access to food and other basic necessities.
It also hopes that access to counselors will help place them at the top of waiting lists and get them into apartments.
Cole says he thankful for the opportunity to participate in the program and feels secure now that he has a place to call home.
“Oh, I love it!” Cole said. “After being out on the streets for 3.5 years … I can eat better, take care of my health better.”
One-third of his social security check pays his rent each month.