Social service providers are getting better at identifying and tracking people experiencing homelessness. This is due, in part, to having better, more efficient technology like Grassroots Unwired at the ready.
Every year, Office of Homeless Services and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) partner with local homeless service providers to conduct the Point in Time (PIT) count. The PIT is a census on both sheltered and un-sheltered people experiencing homelessness.
Last year, 400 volunteers piloted the use of tablets pre-loaded with Bristol-based DreamIt Ventures‘ alum Grassroots Unwired. The mobile app helps canvassers expedite organizing efforts. Both Philadelphia and Houston piloted the technology.
Building on the two successful 2016 pilots, Grassroots Unwired will again be used during PIT counts in Philadelphia and Houston. The software company will also be expanding to areas in California and Indianapolis. In partnership with the Coalition for the Homeless in Houston, Project HOME and Valley Youth House in Philadelphia, Grassroots Unwired will allow volunteers to press and swipe answers through a mobile app to survey questions instead of fumbling with the a paper and clipboard.
Grassroots Unwired is built on the philosophy that mobile-first technology can be customized and utilized for the greater good. From helping progressive candidates win elections to empowering non-profit organizations working to save our environment, balance inequality and improve our communities, Grassroots Unwired bridges historical canvassing with groundbreaking technology.
The software eliminates manual data entry after the count. Thus, volunteers can spend their energy on speeding up service delivery for people experiencing homelessness.
It’s being described as “a breath of fresh air for service providers and government offices involved in the count.”
For Grassroots Unwired, the ability to build technology that can make a social impact is why the company was founded. Said CEO Russ Oster, “So many of these folks just need a helping hand. And if our technology, used by awesome organizations like Project Home, can speed up the delivery of that help, then we’re honored to be a part of the effort.”