We built a community empowered by technology and design thinking to solve the problem of homelessness together. -Candace Faber, Hackathon Project Manager
At Seattle's first-ever Hack to End Homelessness, May 3-4 at the Impact Hub, more than 60 technologists, graphic designers and storytellers worked side by side with nonprofit service providers and advocacy organizations. The purpose of the weekend was to build technology tools that the nonprofits can use for service and advocacy.
Our project served as the community liaison, connecting the Hackathon organizers to the dozen community partners. This video describes how Seattle U students, faculty and staff participated - as organizers, volunteers and even hackers.
There were 12 teams of 3-7 people each, plus three additional people who floated. One team worked through the night to create an intake interface for YouthCare that will help them place homeless youth in shelters. Another generated incredible insights on our city's homeless population and their reasons for remaining unsheltered, based on data collected earlier in the week at United Way's Community Resource Exchange at CenturyLink Field.
Some of the other highlights were:
Every project was completed and then some. There were some lower-tech solutions as well, such as a new e-commerce site for Sanctuary Art Center, a new call to action-centered Web site for No Child Sleeps Outside, and a design thinking-inspired messaging strategy for Building Changes that they are excited to debut.
There were several other extraordinary achievements, including lots of data clean-up and education for our non-profits on how to improve their data gathering. By bringing best practices from tech to non-profits, we can reduce noise in the data and make it easier to analyze trends.
You can see more about the weekend, including in-depth descriptions of the projects and some of the media coverage highlights, at the project Web site. See highlights from the Hackathon weekend and the finale in our Storify social media recaps.
The weekend kicked off with two community engagement events:
Congratulations and thank you to all the teams — including our partner organizations, who spent several months working with the organizers to develop their project proposals and get the data into shape.
And, our extreme gratitude to the organizers of the event, who worked tirelessly for months on a volunteer basis to pull off this event: Project manager Candace Faber and Hackathon organizer Ethan Phelps-Goodman, as well as Peter Kittas, Aparna Rae and Sol Villareal.