The Washington Post recently introduced its readers to Monica and Pete, two DC residents who are living out of a tent located next to Union Station. The article detailed the volatility of their situation, not knowing if they would be forced to relocate at a moment's notice, or if, thanks to city cleanup crews, they would return to Union Station to find their tent gone altogether.
According to the most recent annual Point in Time Count conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Monica and Pete are two of nearly 600 DC residents experiencing unsheltered homelessness in the District. These residents are living on the street, often unsure of where or how they access essential services that can help them end their homelessness.
One local organization, HopeOneSource, is leveraging the power of the text message to help DC residents experiencing housing instability (including those experiencing homelessness) access available career, housing and social services in the District.
HopeOneSource is a geo-located text messaging platform that helps service providers in D.C. distribute information about their available services straight to the mobile phones of the individuals and families they aim to help. Providers select who their messages are sent to, choosing from sixteen service categories and eleven demographic types. By setting these parameters, HopeOneSource is ensuring individuals experiencing housing instability only receive actionable information about services that they are eligible for.
The all-volunteer team at HopeOneSource currently collaborates with over 200 unique District service providers to increase awareness of and access to their available services. With nearly 1800 residents experiencing housing instability currently registered to receive messages through HopeOneSource, each targeted text message a provider sends has the potential to help hundreds of people prevent or end their homelessness.
In addition to working directly with local service providers, the HopeOneSource outreach team also sets out every second Saturday of the month to register the Districts most vulnerable residents for HopeOneSource.