28 January 2020

Home. This simple word means many different things to many different people.

Some define it by those they share it with. Others see it as an extension of themselves, expressed through carefully curated furnishings and decorations.

Whatever criteria we define home by, for the majority of people it’s a very tangible concept. In our minds a home consists of a space we claim as ours.

But when you’re spending your nights on the street or in temporary accommodation, home can become a very abstract term. “Home” turns into an idea filled with longing and uncertainty.

I know this, because I have been working with homeless people for nearly a decade. My initial focus was rough sleeping, first at Thames Reach and then at Turning Point. Then in 2017, I co-founded a social enterprise called Beam.

Monique training to be a beautician

Beam is a website that lets anyone help a homeless person for the long-term by funding their employment training. We use crowdfunding technology to make it safe and easy to help, connecting the public with homeless men and women looking to start new careers.

Each person Beam works with is assigned a dedicated caseworker. Once a campaign funds (and we have a 100% success rate) this employee will see them all the way through training and into stable work.

Alla shopping for job interview clothes

We focus on supporting homeless people into fulfilling careers because we believe it’s one of the best ways to ensure they achieve their dream of having a stable home.

Javad working as a digger operator

To learn more about Beam, please visit beam.org or follow them on Twitter @wearebeam.

Seb Barker

Seb is Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Beam

Seb Barker is the Co-Founder and COO of Beam, the world’s first platform to crowdfund employment training for homeless people and support them into skilled work. Before Beam, Seb worked in central NHS services supporting the national rollout of personalised healthcare. With a long-term passion for homelessness, Seb previously led the first homeless social impact bond, delivering an outcome-based contract across London's rough sleeping population.

Tech for good: Beam