A Digital Way To Stop Evictions: Buy Real Estate In The Metaverse

HomeStart is launching a project called INVERSE to help families on the brink of eviction by selling digital apartments in the metaverse, shown here. (HomeStart/ICON)
HomeStart is launching a project called INVERSE to help families on the brink of eviction by selling digital apartments in the metaverse, shown here. (HomeStart/ICON)
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By Michelle D. Madsen

It is digital to the rescue.

HomeStart, a Boston-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to ending homelessness, is launching a project called INVERSE to help families on the brink of eviction by selling digital apartments in the metaverse.

The apartments start at one Ethereum (ETH), around $3,000 and roughly equal to what it costs to stop an eviction and provide a family with 12 months of support in a major U.S. city.

Due to rising housing expenses, nearly 600,000 Americans were habitually unhoused in 2020. Today, there are twice as many households behind on their rent and at risk of eviction than there were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s where HomeStart comes in.

In the last 25 years, HomeStart has helped secure permanent housing for over 14,000 individuals living on the streets and in shelters. It also worked to prevent over 4,000 families from experiencing homelessness by way of eviction. HomeStart’s clients include survivors of domestic violence, single parents and their children, veterans and persons with disabilities, all living at or below the poverty line.

Now, HomeStart is partnering with Cornerstone to build an apartment complex in its new virtual world.

The price of the NFT apartments starts at one Ethereum (ETH), which is around $3000, and about what it costs to halt an eviction. All profits go to HomeStart. (HomeStart/ICON)

Cornerstone, the first photorealistic metaverse, will create an apartment complex in this new virtual environment. Those who purchase apartments will be among the first to visit the virtual world. ZOAN, a virtual studio based in Helsinki, Finland, is creating Cornerstone, which will open by the end of 2022.

“One of HomeStart’s initiatives is to prevent homelessness from occurring in the first place by assisting high-risk households in maintaining their residence and avoiding resorting to shelters or the streets,” said Matt Pritchard, HomeStart’s president and executive director.

“HomeStart is continually seeking for novel methods to engage more community people to help prevent homelessness, just as we uncover and incubate innovative solutions to homelessness,” he said. “INVERSE is a large-scale project that gives the metaverse a purpose by establishing a never-before-seen link between the virtual and physical worlds, with the goal of raising awareness of a situation with ready-made remedies.”

The building is designed by the award-winning Boston-based architecture firm ICON.

Each apartment will be represented by a non-fungible token (NFT), a digital asset representing real-word objects, with the buyer becoming the owner of that property after acquiring the NFT. There will be 49 NFTs or units available for purchase, with eight different floor plans to choose from. Prices will vary from one to five ETH, roughly equivalent to the cost of defending one to five families from eviction at present rates.

The building will also have two community floors for future brand partnerships.

The NFTs can be purchased here.

Produced in association with MetaNews.

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