In Philadelphia, homelessness is a major problem. However, the technology has not scaled to fill this need. Providing services to the homeless population is a very inefficient and time-consuming process.
The goal of the application is to highlight life-preserving resources for the homeless and homeless service providers, particularly food and shelter resources.
Our solution highlights food and shelter resources in Philadelphia, with each resource marked with appropriate icons. It is an easily searchable, easily maintainable mapped listing of homeless shelters and free food resources in Philadelphia.
The intake center has to call each homeless shelter to determine whether they have additional spaces for the night. When this resource is completely built, they can check the website to see which shelters have capacity.
Joe is hungry. He has a family to feed, but they recently lost their house because they could no longer afford to pay the rent. They have been homeless for several days and now don't have enough money for their next meal.
There is a soup kitchen in the area that has a weekly food delivery. Most of their constiuents hear about their service through word of mouth and paper flyers.
Since Joe has not been homeless for a long time, he does not know about this service. He asks his pastor at the local church for food, but they do not have a food delivery.
The pastor does have a computer, however, and he is able to check the website for food services that are nearby. This search will turn up the soup kitchen.
Mary works at the intake center. She now has the ability to directly monitor which shelters have excess capacity. The workers at the community shelter are also happier because they can indicate when they have excess capacity. Their grant money is dependent on how many homeless they help, so they have an incentive to use the system.
The homeless will probably not be able to use our application in the initial implementation, because the initial implementation does not include a text-based service.
As a result, our initial market will be homeless resource providers.
The resource guide will include shelter intake profile and food resources.
We have many ideas that may not be completed this weekend but have been thoroughly discussed and spec'd out for future growth. These include:
- An easy way for the homeless and homeless resource providers to check capacity of local shelters.
- A text-based solution that allows homeless shelters to update their remaining capacity.
- A calendaring application that will show the dates that food is available.
We contacted Project H.O.M.E. and the City of Philadelphia to make sure we were on the right track. There are some resources that they have that are attempts in this direction, but nothing that has utilized proper web developers to create a singular resource or capacity monitor.
Project Home, Outreach Hotline, City of Phila, Calling the Homeless Outreach hotline at 215-232-1894.
Some Directories of Shelters:http://www.oneneighborhood.org/sheltersoverviewhttp://oneneighborhood.org/agencies?filter0=**ALL**&filter1=**ALL**&filter2=http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/cgi-bin/id/city.cgi?city=Philadelphia&state=PA
We have contacts with Project H.O.M.E. and the City of Philadelphia and they have given advice on our initial project specification. We will demo our project to them once we have a working prototype. We can take their feedback and iterate until we have a project that is ready to be rolled out to the field.