What if: we provided safe storage for homeless people’s belongings?

Collaborative economy for social good

There is a homelessness epidemic in Britain. Last year, in England alone 57,750 people were deemed statutory homeless (with 114,790 turned away by local authorities) with a further 380,000 hidden homeless. Both figures are only rising, with the number of hidden homeless set to reach the one million mark by 2020 according to the charity Crisis.

We wanted to put the sharing economy to good use to offer some relief to those who found themselves in this position. Our proposal for Nesta’s open ideas challenge aimed to find new solutions to some of the UK’s biggest social issues.

One hidden side of homelessness is the financial strain and stress of having to store your belongings.

As it stands, temporary storage of homeless people’s belongings is organised by local authorities (where they have a legal duty, with costs usually fully repayable by the individual) or up to the individual to arrange (at high market rates £48-£125 a month plus deposit, payable upfront). For many, friends and family are not a suitable option.

It’s not unusual for debts to increase by three to four figures, making it harder for people to regain independence and get back on their feet.

Our solution would facilitate the safe and low-cost storage of these belongings in places using spare space in households and businesses, such as garages and warehouses.


As easy and efficient as booking a hotel room – Hutch™ would bypass what is currently a very manual process.

Our low-cost, compassionate solution is a much-needed antidote to an estimated £50 million problem in the UK.

Whilst the idea generated offers of sponsorship and support, and was shortlisted into the final 25 from 250 entries, it was not chosen by Nesta’s judging panel. Time to find another way...



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ProjectsStuart Goulden