Improving the 211 Phone Service System for Homeless Individuals
In the United States, dialing '211' connects individuals and families to critical resources and information on health and human services in their region. Often, people battling homelessness are instructed to dial 211 for information on available programs, shelters, and other support services.
The demand and call volume is so high in some regions that many people in crisis are unable to have their needs met due to overwhelmed call centers.
Nationwide, the homeless population is approaching five straight years of growth. Human service providers are unable to match the increased demand of service provision with their disposable resources.
Underinvestment in call center infrastructure
A growing underserved population
An overwhelmed call center system
Unmet needs of individuals and families in crisis
A growing underserved population
Overwhelmed call centers
Reduced efficacy of human service provision
Enablement of growth in the population of underserved individuals and families
2020 estimated expenditure on homelessness in Western Washington regions:
$103.7 million in the City of Seattle
$195 million in King County
$1.06 billion in the Puget Sound region
Increase in individuals served through 211 resource connection
Eventual decrease in call volume
Low-income social and health services organizations
Civil legal aid groups
City, County, and State Governments
Local, county, and state governments
Low-income community and emergency service providers
X4Impact Money-flow data aggregation from over 200K IRS 990 forms and 8K Private Investments reported to the SEC (Jan-May 2020) report over $215B devoted to UN SDG related to No Poverty
Government Grants devoted to assisting Homeless Individuals.
Charitable Contributions from large Foundations
Corporate Social Responsibility Programs from Telcos and Tech companies
NGOs devoted to addressing homelessness which report, together, hundreds of billions of USD as annual income every year as per IRS 990 reports
As Public Phones are almost non-existent, people rely on mobile phones or shared phones at shelters and NPOs
Some ideas are:
create a text-message based service. A growing number of people rely on their phones for connecting to the internet or subscribe to text based updates (PEW). Reaching them on their mobile devices is key.
free-access section of the internet: work with carriers and local governments and offer a 211 web based solution that people can access even without a data plan. Can we create a free-section of the internet to offer access to basic resources?
Partner with this Social Enterprise: work wiht firms within the community to further social impact.
Contributions from Real Estate firms in densely populated areas
Corporate Social Responsibility / Social Marketing Sponsorships
Additionally there are several solutions featured on X4Impact that are already making a difference:
StreetChange is a mobile application that leverages the power of small donations to help people that need it the most: homeless neighbors with short-term needs. Through iOS and Android apps you can contribute to necessities like socks, shoes, and raincoats requested by StreetChange clients who meet with a caseworker to discuss healthcare and housing options when picking up their goods.
Shelter App, Inc. is an All-volunteer Non-Profit Organization whose mission is to help homeless and low-income families connect to services using the web and mobile app where they can find Food, Shelter, Health, Work and other resources.
People experiencing homelessness rely on the internet to apply for housing and benefits, schedule appointments with doctors and case managers, search for jobs, and stay in touch with family and friends. It is a lifeline for getting back on your feet. ShelterConnect works with internet service providers to offer free wifi in shelters and transitional housing facilities.
Outreach and case teams use Samaritan to help clients overcome barriers to a permanent, supportive home, unlocking capacity to reach the next person in need sooner. The support platform—specifically designed for people without a home—is used to provide hope to vulnerable populations by connecting them to the financial and social support needed to move forward.
National Alliance to End Homelessness, State of Homelessness
National Alliance to End Homelessness, https://endhomelessness.org/resources/?fwp_content_filter=data-and-graphics
Puget Sound Business Journal, https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2017/11/16/price-of-homelessness-seattle-king-county-costs.html
Giving Tech Labs Team - Giving.tech