Grassroots Unwired Brings Unique Mobile Tech To the 2017 Homeless Census
Mobile software company Grassroots Unwired is teaming up with Continuums of Care (CoC) led by local non-profits to transition HUD’s (Housing and Urban Development) yearly homeless census from paper and clipboards to tablet powered mobile software. These “Point-in-Time” (PIT) counts typically take place late in January over one or several nights, and the results are used by HUD to determine funding levels for a community’s homeless advocacy problems.
The need for accurate data, collected efficiently was the driving force behind the technology built by Grassroots Unwired. Building on successful 2016 pilots in Houston and Philadelphia, Grassroots Unwired will be expanding its partnerships to areas in California and Indianapolis. In partnership with the Coalition for the Homeless in Houston, Project HOME and Valley Youth House in Philadelphia, Grassroots Unwired perfected a mobile app that allows volunteers to press and swipe answers to survey questions instead of fumbling with the a paper and clipboard at night.
This app not only digitizes the HUD driven survey but gives the site managers an ability to monitor volunteers who go on-site which helps insure safety and accurate data collection. The fact that the app works with or without a data connection means that volunteers can continue to do their work in low connectivity areas like subway stations.
After the count is over, days of manual data entry are eliminated because all the data collected in the field is databased in real time the night of the count. And with paper, there was always the possibility of a poorly written survey leading to disqualifying an individual from the count. Communities could lose large sums of public funding if their Homeless census data is not accurate.
HUD requires this data to be reported in order to determine public funding that gets provided to each community to support public programs. Non-Profits will train and send volunteers to Emergency Shelters; Transitional Housing Units; Rapid Re-housing Programs; Safe Haven’s; and Permanent Supportive Housing Programs along with known areas where unsheltered individuals live to perform the surveys. While the survey has some standard questions required by HUD, many non-profits offer additional services and use the customizable nature of the platform to design scripts that are specific to their own programs.
For Grassroots Unwired, the ability to build technology that can make a social impact is why the company was founded. Said CEO Russ Oster, “So many of these folks just need a helping hand. And if our technology, used by awesome organizations like Project Home, can speed up the delivery of that help, then we’re honored to be a part of the effort.”
We recently partnered with The Sierra Club’s Georgia Chapter who has devised a plan to contact voters and make it easy for them to fill out an absentee ballot request form. Canvassers are going door-to-door, talking to people about upcoming election choices and helping them with their voter plan. Unlike past cycles, this year they made the switch from carrying around paper walk sheets and dozens of voter registration and absentee ballot request forms to our platform.
By using the Grassroots Unwired platform, canvassers can have voters fill out the absentee ballot request form on a tablet. They can even sign it digitally, and have it sent automatically to the appropriate county registrar’s office in Georgia. By switching to the Grassroots Unwired platform , ballot requests are more accurate and since the , the whole process is paperless, the data collected is saved securely in the database.
The ability to vote by absentee ballot is an essential part of modern elections. For those who cannot get to the polls for health, work, or extended travel reasons, it allows them the opportunity to have their voices heard in elections ranging from local to national.
The collaboration between The Sierra Club and Grassroots Unwired has provided a possibly underserved or marginalized voter group with an opportunity for both personal contact to learn about their choices and a chance to take action on issues that might be to interest to them sponsored by the Sierra Club.
Nonprofit door-to-door organizers know just how time-consuming data entry can be out in the field. Ringing doorbell after doorbell, hoping someone answers. Once someone does, you spend most of the time explaining who you’re representing and what your mission is. Then you maybe hand out some literature that gives more detail. After all that, you have to make time to ask for donations or a signature.
If you’re lucky, the person on the other side of that screen door will shell out some cash or a check, while you bring out your handy clipboard and jot down the essentials — name, home address and email of the donor, including the donation amount.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking. You only have so many hours of sunlight until it’s time to pack up and start again in the morning.
This might leave you saying, “There’s got to be an app for that.”
For Immediate Release Contact: Russ Oster
March 30, 2015 609-439-1463
GRASSROOTS UNWIRED OFFERING PHILLY TECH TO PHILLY NON-PROFITS
Just Released from Beta, Start-Up Giving Free One-Month Access
BRISTOL, PA – Grassroots Unwired, a Philadelphia area start-up providing mobile technology for grassroots organizing, is announcing the public launch of its software aimed at supporting the activities of non-profits, by offering a free, one-month trial of their organizing and fundraising platform to Philadelphia area non-profits.
“We’re proud to have started our company in Philadelphia and proud of the work we have done to get our platform to the point it is today,” said Grassroots Unwired CEO Russ Oster. “It’s been put through its paces by some of the largest non-profits in the country and now that it is ready for broad use, we couldn’t think of a better way to launch then by helping local non-profits take their organizing efforts to the next level.”
Former Congressman Looks Forward to Helping Campaigns Leverage Technology in Their Canvassing Efforts
Grassroots Unwired, the only provider of real-time, GPS-enabled mobile canvassing solutions, is proud to announce that former Congressman Patrick Murphy has agreed to play a key advisory role to the Grassroots Unwired board and staff.
“I’m excited to bring my experiences to this talented team of professionals,” said Congressman Murphy. “I know that while the conversations among pundits will center around undecided or persuadable voters, elections are decided based on turnout – who identifies their supporters and turns them out. The Grassroots Unwired technology is a force multiplier that brings efficiency and accountability to the canvassing process.
“My elections were close enough that having the Grassroots Unwired tool could have certainly made the difference for me. And I’m going to spend the next two months encouraging campaigns to take advantage of this cutting edge technology.”
At it’s core, the Grassroots Unwired platform gives you real time accountability and efficiency.
But there’s so much more that clients get out of it:
We’ll even supply your campaign with smartphones or tablets so you dont have to worry about hardware or data plans—just open the box and start your canvass.