Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steve Banks wanted a tool that would not only enable workers to coordinate their efforts, but also give the city government a true overview of the homelessness problem that would enable officials to design interventions based on real data, not rough estimates. The city’s tech team worked with non-profit organizations such as Project Hospitality in Staten Island as well as BronxWorks to find out what the outreach workers on the front lines of this citywide disaster need.
To that end, the city is rolling out a new tool, StreetSmart, aims to give city agencies and non-profit groups a comprehensive view of all of the data being collected on New York’s homeless on a daily basis. Think of StreetSmart as a customer relationship management system for the homeless. Every day in New York, some 400 outreach workers walk the streets checking in on homeless people and collecting information about their health, income, demographics, and history in the shelter system, among other data points. The workers get to know this vulnerable population and build trust in the hope of one day placing them in some type of housing.
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