Friday 16 October 2015


What is the future of charity? Some could argue that, with swingeing government cuts to essential services, it's needed more now than ever. At the same time, the funding these charities need is also facing a severe haircut, and austerity and bad publicity mean that people are less inclined to dig in their pockets and donate.

It seems hopeless, but there are always opportunities if you know where to look. Innovations in technology have given charity donation a real boost, with online initiatives like the Ice Bucket Challenge raising millions for motor neurone disease. Giving a fiver to charity is as easy as firing up PayPal. The next big thing is around the corner, and many charities are working hard on smart ways to raise awareness and pull in some cash.

Today, I want to highlight something a little different: an audio drama. iHomeless is a satirical look at the far reaches of charity innovation–the launch of an app that lets you control the life of a homeless person. If they need food, cash or shelter, you're there to help. Unless you're away from your phone, of course...

The drama was inspired by a real app, iHobo, that aimed to show what life was like for a homeless person. With shades of Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror, iHomeless shows what can happen when interactivity goes that little bit too far. In a bit over six minutes, it skewers our attitudes to homelessness, and the way technology can make us a little too complacent about matters of life and death.

iHomeless is a Tin Can Podcast production, written by Jonathan Brown and edited by Fred Fournier. Starring Fiona McKinnon, Ashley Hope, Keith Eyles, Chris Spyrides and Dave Bibby.

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