The software piloted during Philly's homelessness count last year is expanding - Generocity Philly

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Jan. 17, 2017 10:25 am

The software piloted during Philly’s homelessness count last year is expanding

Bristol-based software company Grassroots Unwired will pilot its canvassing app in "areas of California and Indianapolis" and continue to be used in Philly and Houston.

Grassroots Unwired is expanding.

(Courtesy photo)

Social service providers are getting better at identifying and tracking people experiencing homelessness, due in part to having better, more efficient technology at the ready.

We’re talking tablets and apps. Every year, Office of Homeless Services and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) partner with local homeless service providers to conduct the Point in Time (PIT) count, a census on both sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness.

In addition to surveying a broader swath of geography last year, 400 volunteers piloted the use of tablets preloaded with Bristol-based DreamIt Ventures‘ alum Grassroots Unwired. The mobile app helps canvassers expedite organizing efforts, and last year, the technology was piloted in Philadelphia and Houston.

According to a release from the company, Grassroots Unwired will be used during PIT counts in both Philadelphia and Houston again this year (partnering locally with Project HOME and Valley Youth House). Additionally, the press-and-swipe tech will be piloted with partners in “areas in California and Indianapolis.”

The software eliminates manual data entry after the count — a breath of fresh air for service providers and government offices involved in the count — allowing energies to be spent on speeding up service delivery for people experiencing homelessness.

“So many of these folks just need a helping hand,” said CEO Russ Oster in a statement. “And if our technology, used by awesome organizations like Project Home, can speed up the delivery of that help, then we’re honored to be a part of the effort.”

This year’s PIT count takes place on Jan. 26.

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