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Digital Identity Card for the Downtown Eastside

Abandoned shopping cart

This initiative, in partnership with the UBC i-Lab, will explore the use of blockchain technology in securing digital identity for the homeless population in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver.

The homeless experience recurrent difficulties in acquiring or holding government ID, such as the BC Services Card. When they are evicted out of their house, come into trouble with the law or just sleeping on the streets, the homeless often times lose their possessions and ID. Government ID is an even more painful bureaucratic process for the homeless as it is not easy to prove oneself without a home address or other trusted forms of ID. Without government ID, though, the homeless are unable to access vital services, such as food banks, shelters, or detox clinics, which creates an even more vicious cycle of poverty and isolation.
The UBC i-Lab is creating a blockchain application that will hopefully become a permanent solution to this problem. By uploading an authenticated copy of the BC Services Card to a private blockchain, the team wants to create a new digital identity that can be trusted and verified by the ledger for use around the DTES community.

Project Team: Sanjeeva Rajapakse, Ren Wang. Ali Serag El-Din, Salman Khan, Shannon Farvolden, Victoria Lemieux

Cluster Researchers:
Victoria Lemieux