World Homeless Day: The app that is helping rough sleepers to the support they need
Lenny Worthing, Shropshire Council’s housing co-ordinator:
“Now, we can pinpoint exactly where a person is so we can find them, start a conversation with them and begin the process of getting them the help they need to get off the streets. The app is literally helping us save lives.”
As part of World Homeless Day, we look at how technology has helped our housing team quickly identify and respond to rough sleepers in much need of support.
Shropshire Council’s housing services and ICT teams developed an app to help arrange support for the people who are homeless.
The app has been developed internally using Microsoft’s PowerApps platform, that is part of the Microsoft package many councils already buy into.
The Homeless app allows housing outreach workers to add information about a person’s situation (in real time) when they encounter them rough sleeping on the streets: a central team then use the information to seek support.
Previous methods for supporting those in need relied on two outreach staff recording details of the homeless person on paper, with that piece of paper then returned to the office at the end of their shift for another team to find support. The previous process was far slower than the new, with the main and most important difference being the time taken to provide a package of support – which can be as little as 10 minutes.
Andy Begley, Shropshire Council’s chief executive, said:-
“Our homelessness app gives our team the information they need to support people, helping the homeless into a warm, safe environment wherever possible in a timely way. This tool also helps us to think more strategically about the support we need and where we should provide it, as the data is far more accessible for service planning.”
You can find out more about the story behind the app here: https://customers.microsoft.com/en-us/story/818138-shropshire
If you are concerned and want to help someone who is sleeping rough, visit Streetlink or call our Housing Options team on 0345 678 9005.
You can follow @shropcouncil and @HomelessDay on twitter throughout World Homeless Day, hashtag #WorldHomelessDay.