The Good Bank is a micro-loan project I will launch in Spring 2013. With $250 of my own money, I will make tiny loans ($5 each) to homeless individuals. The loans will be zero interest, short term loans. My theory is that most of the loans will be repaid. Then, I can lend the money to someone else, effectively multiplying the value of the money over and over again.
Once I can demonstrate my proof of concept - that most of the money will be repaid, and that this is a useful service for homeless people, I will seek donations from others. My target donors would be anyone who would normally give a dollar or two to a homeless person on the street. Giving me their dollar instead would mean they multiply their donation to serve multiple people.
While it’s hard for those of us with resources to understand how $5 can be useful, I’ve done market research and found it would be useful. I've learned that homeless people think it's a good idea, they want the loan for about a week, and they would use the money for food, for the T, or for other short term needs. One woman needed $3 for her medication co-pay. She wished she could get a $3 loan because while she would get her disability check in a week, her medicine “ran out today.”
I have sought advice from the experts - homeless individuals, and I will continue to consult with them and heed their advice on program implementation so I can figure out how to best realize this project.
Funded by Boston, MA (February, 2013)