Is the process of Hosting or being a Guest safe?
Compared to staying put on the streets, it is definitely safer to be a guest than to remain on the streets. The FreeWorlder app most likely keeps track of ip addresses of their clients each time they log in. Although the app makers are based in Europe, I can't imagine why they would not comply with an urgent law enforcement request to reveal ip address information. Also, I have set up a complaints and compliments reporting system on the couchhosting.org site on the pages labeled Guests and Couch Hosts. If you wish a complaint or compliment to be published, just send an e-mail with the text of your statement and the profile name of the person you are referring to to email@example.com. You may also indicate if you want me to keep the complaint confidential/unpublished (or just have your name redacted) and/or if you want me to contact law enforcement on your behalf. I will make some attempts to contact both parties to verify any complaints before publishing, unless a request for confidentiality by the person complaining requests that I not contact both parties. This is not Yelp, where unverified complaints can just be published willy nilly.
Beyond just the system of accountability that I have set up, it is also a good idea to have single women stay with women or couples, and single men stay with men or couples, just like the way many homeless shelters are run. Except that with this system, couples and children can all stay together and it is not as big a deal if they choose to stay with women or with men.
What is the purpose of FreeWorlder?
My vision for what can be accomplished with the FreeWorlder app is huge! This app was discovered and is being helped along in its development by volunteers working with the Ubuntu group in Eugene, OR, USA, a group of people who believe in having a cashless economy where most of our basic needs are met for free. This FreeWorlder app, where you can sign up to get stuff for free and give away stuff for free, could usher in a brand new era of a cashless economy where lots of things, up to and including room and board, are all free. Think of what that would do to the cost of renting a dwelling unit if all of the landlords were put on notice that they are now 'competing with zero'. There still would be good reasons to charge money for a dwelling, since it would often not be just a room in someone's house or a couch to sleep on for a few days at a time. But the downward pressure on rental rates would occur all the same. Another part of the couchhosting.org site that causes downward pressure on rents is the co-signing opportunities page. When the landlord's potential losses due to a lease default are completely taken care of due to the widespread use of corporate co-signers, the cost of providing the rental units drops dramatically. The landlord can choose to either pocket the difference or heaven forbid actually 'play fair' and lower the rents that he/she is charging or at least not have as much reason to continue raising the rents.
People might be thinking 'well it's great to get stuff for free, but what is in it for me if I just start giving away some of my stuff for free?' The answer is that when you become an established part of the FreeWorlder community, people can see by the stats displayed in your profile whether you are primarily a giver or just a taker or have a balance of both. I submit that they are more likely to give something for free to a person who has profile stats that suggest that they have a balance between giving and taking and/or that they are a giver. If by being an established member of the FreeWorlder community you are getting as much that you really need as you give away, I submit that you will have more cash available to spend on things that still cost money and/or you can actually put some of that spare cash into savings or investments.
If you have any other questions that you would like to see added to this list, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.