HomeStart, a non-profit devoted to reducing homelessness, is starting a project called INVERSE to assist families facing eviction by selling digital properties in the metaverse. The flats start at one Ethereum (ETH), or around $3000, which is about what it takes to block an eviction and give a family 12 months of assistance in an average city in the United States.
In 2020, approximately 600,000 Americans will be homeless on a regular basis (source: National Alliance to End Homelessness), and there are already twice as many households behind on rent and at risk of eviction as there were before the COVID-19 epidemic, owing to rising housing expenses (source: OECD Forum).
HomeStart is teaming up with Cornerstone, the world’s first photorealistic metaverse, to construct an apartment complex in the latter’s new virtual environment. HomeStart has been granted early access to Cornerstone for this project, and residents will be among the first to get access to the virtual environment. ZOAN, a virtual studio situated in Helsinki, Finland, is developing Cornerstone, which is scheduled to launch by the end of 2022.
One of HomeStart’s goals is to avert homelessness by assisting high-risk households in maintaining their residence and avoiding placement in shelters or on the street, stated Matt Pritchard, President and Executive Director of HomeStart. “Similarly to how we uncover and incubate creative solutions to homelessness, HomeStart is constantly on the lookout for novel methods to engage more community members in preventing homelessness. Inverse is an ambitious initiative that gives the metaverse a purpose by establishing a never-before-seen connection between the virtual and real worlds. We believe that this connection increases awareness of a situation with ready-made remedies. “
The building was created by ICON, a Boston-based architecture practice that has won several awards. Each apartment will be represented by a unique non-fungible token (NFT), and acquiring the NFT entitles the purchaser to the apartment. There will be a total of 49 NFTs, or apartments, available for purchase, with investors able to pick from eight different floor layouts. Prices will vary from one to five ETH, which approximately equates to the cost of eviction protection for one to five families at present rates.
The inverse is created on the Ethereum blockchain as individual non-fungible tokens (NFTs), especially ERC-721 tokens, which enables users to easily verify each NFT’s ownership and transaction history. TBWA, Cornerstone, and ICON collaborated with the Unreal Engine to guarantee that the high-quality images and lifelike designs were rendered in real-time.