February 26, 2014
More than 3.5 million experience homelessness in the US each year. What is more alarming is that one in five of them are veterans!. Military veterans account for the largest faction of the homeless population. They suffer from this due to a variety of reasons like physical and mental ailments, in-sufficient funds, lack of affordable resources like housing etc. It becomes difficult to identify the root causes and create an effective strategy to reduce homelessness.
The following three-pronged approach can help address this issue and tackle homelessness:
• Increase resource availability for the homeless or those in need
• Optimize outreach to reach out to a larger group with relevant information
• Insights driven decisions through data analysis to improve service delivery and identify root cause of homelessness
Technology can be effectively leveraged to execute this three-pronged strategy.
While it is necessary to have physical shelters, free meal kitchens/soup kitchens and other services for the homeless, it is important to make more people aware these services. Real time information disseminated via technology platforms like mobile devices or information kiosks, with location based services, can improve awareness of the closest available services for a larger group of people. This information can be provided not only to the homeless but also to volunteers assisting them. Disseminating information in such a way can significantly improve utilization of services.
By tracking and analyzing the interactions between the volunteers/care-givers and the homeless, we can accurately predict the types of services the needy leverage based on locations and can effectively tailor the spending for support systems. Sentiment analytics can help identify the needs of the veteran homeless and unearth precise reasons for the situation. Governments can use this information to base-line their strategies/initiatives and continuously improve their strategies to prevent, and completely eliminate homelessness.
I think this solution can help governments create a much improved environment for its residents. What do you think?