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Veterans Community Project :: Homeless Listings

Finalist in Other Platform, On a Shoestring


According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, it is estimated that more than 30,000 Veterans experience homelessness on any given night. 

Veterans Community Project (VCP) is a non-profit that builds villages of tiny homes to help homeless Veterans. They currently have housing villages in 6 cities, but wanted to expand into new markets across the country. To do so, they needed to increase donation dollars, and expand their donor pool beyond their current footprint. Which meant, they needed to increase awareness of the crisis, but without spending their limited resources on production or media. 



The problem is, most people choose to just walk by the harsh realities of homelessness. In order to create real change, we needed an unexpected and impactful way to expose their struggles. 

So we created “Homeless Listings.” We infiltrated vacation rental sites like Airbnb and VRBO with listings that no one would want — the sobering conditions our homeless Veterans face every day. With no travel budget, and no money for photographers, we took to Google Maps to capture images of real homeless encampments across the US. The Homeless Listings went live just in time to target affluent Americans looking for a home away from home for Veterans Day Weekend. 

Listings were posted in the 10 cities with the highest homeless populations across the country, each highlighting local encampments within their communities. Everything on the property listing was tailored to their living conditions: detailing the shared spaces, lack of amenities, weapons and dangerous animals on property. Each listing served as an immersive call-to-action, reaching new donors in new markets, prompting them to donate.

But vacation rental sites don’t let you post just anything on their platforms. So we had to bypass their security by posting what appeared to be legitimate listings ahead of the initiative. Once all listings had gone through the necessary security checks and were published on the platforms, a team swapped all content on those listings at once: from property descriptions, to amenities, to pictures. Transforming them into published and public Homeless Listing, all at once. 



With a production and paid media budget of $0, we blitzed local media and influencers to share the listings and talk about the crisis. The initiative worked, generating an over 600% increase in VCP donations, while the number of individual donors increased by 10x (both compared to daily averages).


Video for Veterans Community Project :: Homeless Listings

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Barkley, Veterans Community Project


Entry Credits