Kansas City, MO is now using a new mobile app for mobile case management that allows outreach workers to gather data about homeless residents throughout the year. The app – called – Show the Way – was designed to supplement the yearly survey of homeless people by providing more detailed information about an individual’s life and actions over time.
The app – which has been piloted in Houston, TX; Charleston, WV; and Vancouver, WA – was introduced as a more efficient and effective way to gather information. The US federal government currently requires communities to spend 24 hours every year in late January surveying people experiencing homelessness. Called the Point in Time count, the data collected is then used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to determine how much federal assistance to allocate communities for programs to help homeless people. Some advocates have stated that this program needs to be improved as it can be very difficult to get accurate counts, which then limits how effectively communities can spend federal HUD money, and plan how to allocate local resources.
The app not only counts the number of homeless people, it also asks questions regarding their concerns, wishes, and plans. With their permission, the information is fed into a central database and becomes accessible to case workers and other stakeholders.
“Demographics are one thing,” Matt Simmons, president of SimtechSolutions – which created the app – said. “But really, what happened in their life that contributed to where they’re at now, and what can we do to get them lifted up and into housing?”