Partnering to Hack Homelessness Pitch Page

Pitch #1 Homelessness 101

Pitch champion: Alya Othman

I am a resident of Ottawa-Gatineau. I don’t understand what it’s like to be homeless or to be at risk of homelessness. I have assumptions about the causes and experiences around homelessness but I don’t know if they’re accurate.

Data involved: demographic, income, geography, level of education, employment, health

Development potential: flow-through experience, gamification, data visualization, engaging concerned resident to learn about about homelessness in Ottawa (and perhaps bust some myths along the way).

This team needs… Developers, UI Designers, UX Designers, Homelessness Expertise, Data Enthusiasts, General Enthusiasts, Communications Specialists

Pitch #2 Act for impact

Pitch champion: Mike Bulthuis, Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa

I lead an organization which aims to prevent and end homelessness in our city. I am often approached by residents who want to make a difference on homelessness issues. They have skills to volunteer and/or a voice to lend to legislative issues and/or some items/funds to donate but they don’t know how to take action and where to begin.

Data involved: Who is accepting volunteers/donations? Where? What are key homelessness challenges I can lend my citizen voice to?

Development potential: flow-through experience, gamification, engaging concerned resident to take action against homelessness according to resources and priority interest areas (Children and youth? Women? Seniors? Veterans? )

This team needs… Developers, UI Designers, UX Designers, Homelessness Expertise, Communications Specialist, General Enthusiast, Data Enthusiast

Pitch #3 Meet me in the apartment search vortex

Pitch champion: Ali Beshir, Ottawa Mission

I work with youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, supporting them to find affordable housing. Too much of my day is spent combing through ads on sites like Kijiji and PadMapper. Many of my colleagues across the city are doing the same thing day in and day out. There must be a more efficient way for us to access the information according to our specific criteria.

Data involved: Online apartment ads – let’s go get it. Kijiji for example has RSS feed including lat/long, description, can we pull it clean it and display it in a more seamless fashion?

Development potential: Building database, designing + developing searchable interface

This team needs… Homelessness Expertise, Developers, UI Designers, Data Enthusiasts

Pitch #4 What does rural homelessness look like?

Pitch champion: Catherine Scott, Employment and Social Development Canada

I work with and advocate for those who are vulnerable to homelessness outside of Ottawa’s urban area. Homelessness is often associated with the urban context, and so I am challenged to depict the unique story of rural hidden homelessness and poverty. I am looking for a data superhero (or a few) to help me compare the urban and rural picture and grow understanding of the particular challenges in the rural region. I want to be able to go beyond anecdotal evidence to advocate for services and affordable housing outside of the city.

Data involved: demographic, income, geographic, service directories

Development potential: Visualize rural homelessness issues. Where are services? Where are needs based on indicators such as income and cost of living?

This team needs… Data Enthusiasts, General Enthusiasts, Communications Specialists

 Pitch #5 Sharing is caring: Coordination of supplies

Pitch champion: Joanna Binch, Somerset West Community Health Centre

I serve the homeless and those at risk of homelessness. At times we, as well as other service providers have access to supplies or a small budget for basic needs such as winter boots. Instead of purchasing and storing such items on a small scale individually, I wonder if we could coordinate and pool our resources in order to share what we have and access wholesale pricing together.

Data involved: Service provider supplied data on common purchases that could be pooled – a few examples for prototyping

Development potential: Online marketplace/sharing platform

This team needs… Developers, Homelessness Expertise, UI Designers, Business/procurement Expertise

Pitch #6 Let’s take a look: Youth homelessness in Ottawa

Pitch champion: Paul Steeves, United Way Ottawa

I work to grow our understanding our community’s biggest challenges. Youth homelessness remains a pressing social and public health concern, with at least 903 youth staying in emergency shelters in Ottawa. In order to address this issue, donors, funders and service providers need access to a detailed picture of homelessness within the City.  Using data from a number of sources, could we develop risk profiles of the homeless in Ottawa?

Data involved: Socioeconomic, geographic

Development potential: Mapping the spatial distribution of the homeless in the city in relationship to existing service provision using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software.

This team needs… Data enthusiasts, General enthusiasts, Communications Specialists

Pitch #7 Escape {Homelessness} Room

Pitch champion: Joyce Halladay, Lived Experience/Community Activist/Disrupter

I have experienced homelessness. During this experience I felt a lack of empathy and understanding from passersby and those  who were trying to help. The challenges that led to my homelessness experience were complex and compounding and the support system was nearly impossible to navigate, even for someone with all of the tools and resources at their fingertips. What if we could build empathy and understanding for students, service providers, policy-makers and the general public through a simulated experience?

Data involved: Contributing factors to homelessness, Service Directory

Development potential: Heavy on design, experience design, game mechanics, possibly a tech-free hack

This team needs… General enthusiasts, Homelessness experts/advocates, Designers, Communications specialists

 Pitch #8 How can I reach you?

Pitch champion: Stephanie Uson, Roberts Smart Centre

I work with clients who are presently homeless, clients who are on the brink of homelessness, and clients who have recently been housed. All of my clients need timely information and services to reach them where they are in their treatment. Often times, clients connect with a youth counsellor/worker and are transferred to another service as they may age out of our services or their needs exceed our services. Is there a way to build an SMS system so that I can reach out to my clients to check-in and bridge the communications gap? Would it be possible for the original worker to continue communicating, as youth may fall through the cracks if they refuse the change/transfer to another service?

Data involved: Contributing socioeconomic factors to homelessness to determine key messaging, validation through tech access stats

Development potential: Server administration, Web app development, Database development, Server/data saecurity

This team needs: Homelessness experts/advocates, Communications specialists, Data enthusiasts, Designers, Developers

Pitch #9 Helping with furniture (data)

Pitch champion: Spencer Sloan, Helping with Furniture

I am a volunteer board member with a local organization that provides furniture to vulnerable individuals and families, including the recently-housed. We have data about our operations but haven’t yet been able to analyze it to create a snapshot of what has been accomplished (and tell our story). We also face the prospect of growth and we are wondering how to use our data to help us predict what would be needed in a growth scenario.

Data involved: Data from HWF wiped of any identifying information.

Development potential: Data visualization and growth modelling

This team needs… Data enthusiasts, designers, homelessness experts, communication specialists

Pitch #10 How to ask for help?

Pitch champion: Kaite Burkholder-Harris, A Way Home Ottawa

I work to help prevent youth homelessness in Ottawa-Gatineau. Vulnerable youth can sometimes feel  overwhelmed to know their rights and identify their needs during a housing crisis. It can be intimidating to make a call to service connectors and providers before you really understand what you’re asking for. Could we build an online access point that takes a vulnerable youth through a checklist to help prioritize and articulate their needs before they call for help?

Data involved: Service provider data, first-person experience

Development Potential: Web portal and flow-through process

This team needs: Web developers, Homelessness expertise, Designers, Communication specialists

Pitch #11 Design the post-hack strategy

Pitch champion: Mary Moreland, ISED Service Lab

I am a service design facilitator with the ISED Service Lab. I have been collaborating with the Partnering to Hack Homelessness organizing team to design the post-hackathon strategy. We will have prototypes and wireframes, demos and capacity-building… But we will also need to ask ‘Now what?’ Contribute to this hack by telling us: What pains did you encounter this weekend? What new partnerships should form out of this weekend? How should we tell others about what we are doing? And how do we help our prototypes reach launch? Starting Saturday at 1PM we will begin to ask you these questions. You can join us for a few design-thinking exercises to get the ball rolling, and/or drop off sticky notes either in person or through our Nureva virtual wall throughout the course of this weekend.

This team needs… The collective brain power of each hacker

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