Innovative Ways to Address Hunger and Homelessness – Deirdre Walsh
It’s time to get creative with the methods of addressing people’s concerns while they experience homelessness and to find new roads to housing. Technologically-savvy individuals can be a powerful and important new group of supporters for anti-poverty organizations. Throughout the month of November, these individuals have been challenged to think outside of the box to create innovative system designs and develop products that can be implemented in shelters and housing programs.
On November 8-9, the Tech Garden in Syracuse, NY hosted a Hunger Hack. The weekend was dedicated to the development of new tech ideas and solutions, as well as raising awareness about the issues of hunger and homelessness. The Tech Garden hosted a panel discussion to ensure that participants understood the problem at hand and the challenges currently facing service providers in the field. They challenged participants to consider the following questions:
- How to increase visibility and awareness about hunger and homelessness issues?
- How to encourage collaboration among organizations working on hunger and homelessness issues?
- How to better connect clients to available resources and help?
- How to measure performance/impact?
Attendees had the opportunity to learn about hunger and homelessness, as well as the chance to brainstorm new ways tech groups can help hack hunger and homelessness. Ultimately, 25 participants representing the business, university, tech, and support services community worked with experts to develop ten fresh ideas. They range from mobile apps to employment programs for people experiencing homelessness. Check out the full event recap here.
The Hunger Hack was just one example of nationwide trend of incorporating outside groups in the brainstorming of ways to address hunger and homelessness. The Scattergood Foundation is currently sponsoring its 2015 Design Challenge dedicated to the creation of a low-cost, high-impact product that promotes resilience and improves trauma-informed care in a shelter environment. The challenge winner’s design will be implemented at Jane Addams Place, a shelter in West Philadelphia that creates a safe place for mothers and children after becoming homeless. To learn more, please visit the Design Challenge web page.
Innovative design projects and challenges such as the Hunger Hack and Design Challenge are great of examples of collaboration. Organizations of all specialties and skills can have a major impact on the lives of the hungry and homeless. If they can resolve to fight poverty so can all sectors of our society. The more people are aware of the challenges, the more innovative they can be to end those challenges. Join the movement to end hunger and homelessness today!