Law

How one teenager’s chatbot is helping the homeless

By Oliver Smith 12 August 2016
Summary

After taking on traffic wardens, this teenager's chatbot project is helping the homeless.

Remember the astonishing robot lawyer that overturned 160,000 parking fines for free?

Well its creator, 19-year-old Joshua Browder, wasn’t content with just taking on ruthless parking wardens, now he wants to tackle homelessness in Britain.

Read more: Fighting a parking fine? This free robot lawyer has a 64% success rate

On Wednesday his DoNotPay robot lawyer was updated with the ability to draft legal letters to local councils, applying for urgent housing assistance.

It’s beautifully simple.

The chatbot just asks a few quick questions to figure out the circumstances of someone who is either facing homelessness or has recently been made homeless, and uses this info to create a letter.

Most people might not realise that councils have to offer assistance to the homeless, but only if they can jump through a number of legal hoops and make a strong case as to why they deserve assistance.

With DoNotPay the whole process takes just minutes and creates a legal letter, without the need for an expensive lawyer, and offers some much-needed assistance in people’s time of need.

“I started to receive a large number of messages about evictions and repossessions, and noticed that they were at the highest levels ever recorded,” Browder told The Washington Post about why he decided to tackle homelessness.

“I felt bad that I didn’t have the knowledge to personally help people, especially since they were being made homeless.”

As well as fighting homelessness and parking fines, DoNotPay can also help people collect compensation if their flights are delayed and give those with HIV advice on their legal rights.

Unsurprisingly Browder’s hot-shot AI lawyer is making human lawyers nervous, he told The Washington Post that some have even approached him to do a deal:

“Ironically, these sorts of ‘partnership requests’ have made me realize just how much I need to replace these lawyers for free.”

Hear, hear.

Save yourself some money, take DoNotPay for a spin.