Zac Clark, founder and executive director of the HomeMore Project in San Francisco, returns to share an update. The HomeMore Project has distributed several hundred solar-powered backpacks, the Makeshift Traveler, which features a built-in charging station packed with an AM/FM radio, rechargeable flashlight, sleeping bag, and other necessities. When we first talked with Zac in January 2022, when he was a junior at the University of San Francisco, the Makeshift Traveler was a prototype. Today, the organization has delivered hundreds of backpacks and has extended the program to other parts of California.
Homelessness has been on the rise in the United States since 2015. As of 2022, a Housing and Urban Development survey found that more than 582,000 people lived on the street — about 18 people for every 10,000 Americans. Getting off the street requires connecting to wireless services, with all the technology necessary, from a mobile phone, which about 70% of people without housing do have, to chargers and access to information to find resources, treatment for medical and addiction issues, and apply for work. In March, the HomeMore Project completed its first government contract, delivering 60 MakeShift Travelers for homeless veterans in Palo Alto, California. You can learn more about the HomeMore Project and its MakeShift Traveler backpack at thehomemoreproject.org.