Sometimes, all someone needs is a second chance.
That’s the idea anyway behind a new initiative to end homelessness for U.S. veterans living in and around the Sacramento area.
It’s all part of a program led by the nonprofit agency Sacramento Steps Forward aimed to connect some 668 homeless vets with housing and other essential services, like health care, by the end of the year. Though a fairly lofty goal, the agency is harnessing technology in a big way to execute this type of change.
The process starts with a group of navigators who scour the community with iPads in hand, interviewing any homeless person they come in contact with. The demographic data collected throughout this process is then entered into an electronic database known as the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).
By combining the latest in mobile technology with an integrative, data-driven approach, these navigators are able to not only identify individuals who qualify for these services on the spot, but instantly plug them in with housing, education, employment, and other available resources.
Gathering data this way actually serves a dual purpose. The information greatly helps those individuals in need and it provides a bigger picture of the entire homeless population so that Sacramento Steps Forward can ensure they secure proper funding to continue their cause.
A mandate by Congress requires states to have access to this sort of data in order to receive funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), so Sacramento Steps Forward has found a way to present the numbers while truly making a difference.
In the end, the belief that drives it all is rather simple. By providing stable living conditions and other additional resources to help these vets get back on their feet, they can finally move forward with their lives.
It’s nice to hear that the once forgotten heroes who served to protect the American people are finally getting the assistance they deserve, and technology is helping to deliver it.