Homedoor, a non-profit organization based in the city of Osaka, launched a project called Bicycle-Share HUBchari in April 2012, with the aim of solving two problems: helping the former homeless people and those who live on welfare and dealing with an ongoing supply of abandoned bicycles. Under the project, homeless people are taught bicycle-repair skills and abandoned bicycles are repaired and reused.
HUBchari utilizes the "dead" spaces in urban areas such as under the eaves of hotels, cafes, and office buildings, spaces donated by their owners as their "contribution under the eaves." They collect and repair illegally parked and abandoned bicycles, and put them back into use as bicycles for rent. At the same time, they create places for homeless people to work as bicycle mechanics, helping them live more independently and make a living.
People can rent a bicycle by either signing up as a member or paying 700 yen (about $U.S.8.5) for a one-day use. The idea here is that the more convenient it is for citizens and tourists to use bicycles, the more the local economy will be stimulated.
Homedoor was established in April 2010 by Kana Kawaguchi, who started helping the homeless in 2004, when she was 14 years old. In August that same year, Kawaguchi and Homedoor started the "Coco Morning" project, which serves breakfast for people who are homeless and on welfare, and in December, they started the "Kama Meets" project, which invites participants to stroll in the town and deliver cooked meals in the Airin area. They try to not only improve conditions for the homeless but also change the social structure to one where nobody is homeless.
This article is reprinted from Japan for Sustainability