An Open Data Approach to the Human Service Directory Problem
It’s hard to see the safety net. It’s hard to maintain accurate data about which government agencies and which non-pro?t organizations provide what health, human, and social services to whom — and it’s also hard to find and use such data. There are many call centers, directories, and referral applications that aggregate and deliver ‘community resource data’ to people in need; however, they are all produced in fragmented and redundant data silos.This status quo is costly and ineffective, failing people and communities in tragic ways. People in need have difficulty discovering and accessing services that can help them live
Service providers (including anyone from licensed social workers to librarians, school faculty, health-care providers, and community-based volunteers) struggle to help their patrons find the various resources that can ad-dress complex needs. Finally, without comprehensive, up-to-date, and easily-renderable data about the universe of human services that already exist, decision-makers (such as philanthropic funders and policymakers) are unable to gauge the effectiveness of resource allocation for community health.