by W. Scott Gould
More than 67,000 Veterans spent one night homeless, living in emergency shelters, transitional housing units or on the streets in 2011, according to last year’s “point in time” count conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in coordination with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
It’s not always easy for volunteers and outreach workers to know where to send them to get help. That’s why the VA is excited to launch a competition to provide easy access to resources that the homeless need, when they need them, and where they can get them.
Project REACH (Real-Time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless) challenges applicants to make a free, easy-to-use, and broadly accessible web- and Smartphone app to provide current and up-to-date information about housing and shelter, health clinics, food banks, and other services available to the homeless. It is designed to tap the enormous talent and deep compassion of the nation’s developer community to help us deliver vital information to the people who care for the homeless.
People caring for homeless Veterans will be able to use this app to look up the location and availability of shelters, free clinics, and other social services – and instantaneously be able to share this critical information with those in need.
This contest is sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Joining Forces in support of the Administration’s goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015.
For more information and to participate in the challenge, go to reachthehomeless.challenge.gov
W. Scott Gould is the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
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