Denver takes on regional homelessness with tech

Denver takes on regional homelessness with tech

As one of the 16 winners of the 2015 IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, Denver is using its award to address homelessness in the seven-county metro area.

The Coordinated Assessment and Housing Placement System (CAHPS) will allow providers to identify, assess and match homeless individuals and families with available housing and services. CAHPS aims to focus on the most vulnerable individuals and reduce regional duplication of efforts, allowing cities in the Denver metro area to maximize their limited resources.

To support CAHPS, a five-member team from IBM will spend three weeks looking for ways to improve data sharing between the different technological platforms and jurisdictions, departments and programs. This includes analyzing homeless data from the surrounding counties and talking to government, nonprofit and private-sector officials about local efforts to house, shelter and provide services to the homeless.

The CAHPS program collects real-time client data for its housing matching process. It uses a vulnerability index to determine the medical weaknesses of homeless individuals and an intake and case management tool that helps service providers allocate resources in a logical, targeted way.  

The goal is to build a coordinated entry system capable of making data-driven decisions about the best services for a homeless person or family’s needs.

“This partnership has the opportunity to create a coordinated services system that knows no city or county boundaries,” said Denver’s Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “By using technology and sharing data, we can better serve and connect people experiencing homelessness with the services they need throughout the Denver metro area.”

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.

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