Derrick Woodfork is a 24-year-old experiencing homelessness in Washington, DC who was registered for HopeOneSource in September 2016 by a Friendship Place outreach worker at a youth event hosted by The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness.
Since Derrick was registered, he has been able to access free meals, resume writing assistance, and job interviews from the more than 70 participating government and non-government service providers. And as an expectant father, he plans to take advantage of other services such as shelter, transportation and peer support until he is able secure a job and permanent housing that will help support his new family.
According to the January 2016 annual Point-in-Time Count, Derrick is just one of 8,350 people experiencing homelessness in Washington, DC. The city’s leadership is taking unprecedented transformative actions to prevent and end this social issue—so that it is rare, brief, and non-occurring.
One of these actions has been the launch of HopeOneSource, a geolocated text messaging application that effortlessly increases awareness and access to career and social services in DC. Most people at-risk and experiencing homelessness have a cell phone with unlimited text messaging and those that do not are often eligible for a free one through the Federal Lifeline program. As of December 2016, approximately 5% of DC’s population experiencing homelessness have been registered to receive messages of available services on the platform.
As winter sets in, HopeOneSource is collaborating with DC Government officials in 2017 to register even more DC residents on the platform, which provides hypothermia alerts with lifesaving information to access emergency shelter and transportation.
Supported by Tropo (a Cisco company), IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee, and Lockr Encryption, the HopeOneSource outreach tool helps disconnected residents in DC access to local career and social services unique to their needs. Information about services is sent by participating DC service providers who log into the platform, create a short message (150 characters or less) about an available service, select the targeted demographics and click send. The service is then text messaged to those in need, while it can also be accessed at anytime desired via text message or online where the service location can be visually seen on a map.
On January 28, 2017 at the DC Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Old Town Brick Oven Pizza (OTBOP), a local veteran-owned pizza franchise will be using the HopeOneSource platform to provide up to 200 hungry military veterans who are at-risk or experiencing homelessness with a free pizza. DC City Council Member Robert White will be on-hand to help register veterans experiencing homelessness for HopeOneSource.
Additionally, Council Member White is committed to helping DC end homelessness by helping residents connect to career and social services such as gainful employment and affordable housing through HopeOneSource.
“We can’t spend our way to success, but we can partner our way to success by registering more DC residents for HopeOneSource, which provides 24/7 real-time outreach capabilities to our residents to let them know about job fairs, clothing giveaways, food resources and other services to help those who have fallen on difficult times. I thank HopeOneSource for their work in DC to serve our residents this winter and beyond,” says Councilmember White.
For more information on how you or your organization can get involved, go to https://dc.hopeonesource.org/form/get-involved.