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Smart Cities Dive: Can a city solve homelessness with an app?

  |  August 21, 2019

Tech has proven successful for Austin, TX, which could be due in part to a strategy informed by a blend of individual experiences and innovative solutions.

The city’s homelessness strategy is based on direction from an advisory group, supported by Austin’s Innovation Office and a Bloomberg Philanthropies grant, comprised of people with homeless experiences in the city. The city also uses tech to tackle homelessness with initiatives like using blockchain to create digital IDs and setting homeless individuals up with Google Voice numbers.

Additionally, the city is working toward, but not yet involved in, “Built for Zero,” a national nonprofit’s campaign to help cities use data to end chronic and veteran homelessness. Cities pay an annual fee of $10,000 and are provided with the tools to effectively meet and count every single homeless veteran and chronically homeless person, and eventually provide them with permanent housing.