People who are at-risk of or experiencing homelessness in Washington, DC have a new tool for accessing career and social services. HopeOneSource, a web-based application that uses geolocated text messages, helps people access services including:
- employment opportunities
- career training
- free meals
- health screenings
- permanent housing
- emergency shelter during extreme weather
HopeOneSource launched in late 2015 in cooperation with local government and social service providers. As of December 1, 2016, around 5% of DC residents experiencing homelessness had registered on the platform. Over half of those registered are youth aged 14-24.
Tropo, a Cisco company, has partnered with HopeOneSource to take steps toward preventing and ending homelessness in Washington D.C. and beyond.
The project first came to the attention of the Tropo team when HopeOneSource won a Tropo Hackathon at a Drupal conference. Since then, Tropo has provided substantial financial, technical, and outreach support to help HopeOneSource provide more residents with information and access to essential services.
Earlier this year, White House staff, DC government officials, and local business leaders recognized Cisco representatives for working to prevent and end youth homelessness.
The Tropo service allows integration of SMS, VoIP, and other telephony services called from a simple-to-use API. HopeOneSource’s collaborative messaging tool works like this:
- Provider organizations register to post messages about their services through the HopeOneSource web portal.
- Providers can target messages to specific a geolocation and predefined demographic categories such as youth, veteran, LGBTQ, families, and senior care.
- Residents at-risk or experiencing homelessness sign up to receive text messages via their phones. During a short online registration, they select their general location and the services they need.
- HopeOneSource sends SMS messages to participants based on the area in which they registered.
To receive messages, users simply need access to a mobile phone with text-message capabilities. Potential users without a phone can access one through the federal Lifeline program.
While currently focused on Washington, DC, HopeOneSource plans to expand its service to other cities.