Today, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, the City of Austin joined Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Team program, which brings a grant of up to $500,000 annually for up to three years. This opportunity will enable the City of Austin to dramatically increase capacity to address the Mayor and City Council’s priority focus on ending homelessness.
Over 2,000 Austinites don’t have a safe place to sleep. Daily emergency response to the crowded shelter averages 21 times for police and seven times for medics. The Ending Community Homelessness Coaltion (ECHO) reports that daily permanent supportive housing costs the public less ($61), than the revolving cycle of jail ($364), and emergency rooms ($7000).
In June 2016, the Homelessness Outreach Street Team (police officers, behavioral health specialists, paramedics, and social workers), pilot formed to improve safety, facilitate access to services and housing, and prevent criminalization of homelessness.
City Council approved funding for the continuation of the pilot for FY 2017. Lessons from the pilot indicate that service design and mobile-friendly technology would help community service providers, police, and paramedics to meet those experiencing homelessness where they are, bridge gaps to services, and enable interoperability of data across sectors.
The City’s Office of Innovation will manage the team as a component of the Design, Technology, and Innovation Fellows program, which provides an opportunity for Austin’s passionate and civic-minded designers and developers to bring the principles, values, and practices of the technology sector into government.
Those interested in either joining or receiving updates about our progress with this program are encouraged to sign up here: http://eepurl.com/bWZFzn
Communications and Public Information Office
301 W. 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701