SAN ANTONIO – While the city of San Antonio hired the San Francisco firm Homebase to come up with a strategic plan to fight the homeless issue, it's also tapping into data collected by a company called Outreach Grid for a more active approach.
"We're live in communities in Southern California. This includes 13 cities in Orange County, a community in Montana, in Tarrant County, in Texas and also in Baltimore," said Tiffany Pang, CEO and co-founder of Outreach Grid.
Pang said the app is in a pilot phase in San Antonio.
The company, from Irvine, California, participated in this year's CivTech SA program, which is designed to connect local government with tech entrepreneurs. Those who participate are presented with challenges for which they must find a solution.
"We partnered with the Department of Human Services here. They were the ones who presented the challenge of wanting to understand where the encampments are in their city, what types of populations there were, who are they dealing with," Pang said regarding San Antonio's homeless issue.
Pang said the Outreach Grid app has been live for about three weeks, and seven organizations, including the San Antonio Fear Free Environment team, with the San Antonio Police Department, are using it. The app relies on users to keep the information current.
Morjoriee White, with the city's Department of Human Services, said the app is a part of the broader strategic plan and will help bridge the gap between the homeless and the services available to help them. It will also help them keep a lot of information in one place.
"Everyone's kind of interacting with the shelter population, but some of them are keeping their notes within Word documents, Excel spreadsheets," White said.
White said the pilot ends Nov. 26. She said city leaders would get feedback before San Antonio decides whether to move forward using the app permanently.