HOUSING THE HOMELESS WITH TENTS

billionBricks’ unique tents are saving the world’s homeless. “There are one billion people in the world without a home, a number that will double in the next 15 years.”

With that in mind and a strong desire to house the homeless, Prasoon Kumar, together with his former employer, Anurag Srivastava, co-founded billionBricks, a design and innovation studio with the sole purpose of providing high-quality solutions to end homelessness. As the CEO, Prasoon in charge of the overall execution of its vision.

The former architect however didn’t foresee the various challenges that they have to undergo, chief among them is getting the funds in, followed by the long hours needed to strike up partnerships and the long waiting period to see returns or impact.

“A lot of non-profit organisations (NGOs) are not at the top of people’s minds so there is no sense of urgency. I feel people need to treat for-profits and NGOs on an equal footing in terms of what we can deliver, accountability and talents,” Prasoon expresses his concerns. This is why he thinks billionBricks is still quite a distance away from what it was set up to do. Since being founded 5 years ago, it has housed about 4,430 people comprising mainly refugees and disaster victims, spanning across the globe from India and the Middle East to America.

Prasoon has big plans for billionBricks. In the next five years, it plans to house 100,000 people across the globe. It does this by planning big – by identifying large global problems and working closely with people who need help, as well as coming up with solutions such as a unique model that is scalable and new models of fund-raising. It also emphasises a lot on networking which explains why it has an office in Singapore (aside from the fact that Prasoon resides there).

Explaining its Singapore’s presence, Prasoon says: “It is a good place to attract talents and push new ideas as there is a lot of support system. This allows us to have more reach globally which aligns with our vision to go global. It is also a great place to build up our network and credibility. This helps in our fundraising efforts.”

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