Hack to End Homelessness Finale, May 4, 2014, Seattle

More than 60 Seattle technologists and nonprofit service providers/advocacy organizations worked together the weekend of May 3-4 to develop technology tools to end #homelessness. Here's an overview of the finale event that closed the weekend.

byCatherine Hinrichsen258 Views
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  1. At Seattle's first-ever Hackathon about ending homelessness, 12 teams of 3-7 people each, plus three additional people who floated, produced extraordinary projects. The goal was to design and build projects that will help to end homelessness in the Seattle area and in Washington state -- and we did it. The Impact Hub in Pioneer Square hosted the event. Here's a recap of the awesome work! (For brevity, this is just a sample of tweets.)

    Introduction: Below, project manager Candace Faber (@candacefaber) kicks off the finale and introduces the feedback panel: Tim Harris of Real Change; Judy Lightfoot, Crosscut writer (@judylightfoot); Rebecca Lovell, City of Seattle startup advisor (@lovelletters); Mike Mathieu, civic software entrepreneur (@mikemathieu); and Kollin Min of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (@kolminable).

  2. Candace also thanked our special guest Mark Horvath of InvisiblePeople.tv for inspiring us with his tireless work to make #homelessness visible.
  3. Sol Villareal was emcee for the project presentations and ran the show like clockwork.

  4. Then the project presentations began -- three-minute summaries followed by questions from the feedback panel.

  5. Project 1:  Homelessness Diversion Data Visualization
    Nonprofit Partner: Building Changes 
    Team: Team TLA -- Erik Molano, Marina Son, Zach Holker and Dawn Stenberg, with Christena Coutsobos of Building Changes
    Project:  Data visualization that demonstrates how to prevent Washington families from becoming homeless, via the strategy of diversion; plus re-design of a fund-raising brochure.
    How it will be used: Building Changes will use these materials as communication tools for donors and others as part of their efforts to advocate for policy change.

  6. Projects 2-5: Mapping Affordable Housing and Homelessness in Washington State
    Team:  The Maptastics:  Hilary Lovelace, Nikhil Sarwate, Ronald Nin, Jonell Custodio, Samira Irani, McKenna Haley, Amy Hua, Joshua Gerrish, Kris Wittenberger; Sandi Olson, project manager; and Stephanie Velasco, HDC; Erin Murphy, YWCA/Firesteel; Joaquin Uy and Ben Miksch, WLIHA; and Katara Jordan, CLS.
    Project: Four different groups came to the Hackathon with similar needs: they have multiple data sources that they know could tell a story, and they need to be able to tell legislators, community members and media that story. The team churned through the many data sources to create a map that tells the story of who -- in their county, legislative district, or school district -- is experiencing challenges with affordable housing.
    1. For HDC -- An "Opportunity Map" showing how different areas in King County rank according to affordable housing,  school data and transportation options
    2. For Firesteel -- Housing Trust Fund map of affordable housing projects in each legislative district in Washington state
    3.For WLIHA:  County-by-county map of homelessness, affordable housing and poverty statistics that you can also view as trends over time
    4. For CLS: Data on homelessness among schoolchildren in each school district..
    How they will be used: All these maps will be valuable tools to advocate for more affordable housing and services in meetings with legislators, work with media and more.


  7. Below: Panelist Kollin Min of the Gates Foundation (L) gives feedback to the Maptastics team about the challenges of using government data for a technology project, as Mike Mathieu, Tim Harris, Judy Lightfoot and Rebecca Lovell prepare their comments.
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