San Diego, CA – Communities that use Simtech Solutions’ Counting Us mobile app to support their annual “Point in Time” count of people experiencing homelessness will now have a new tool to help reunite people living on the streets with their loved ones. The goal of this recently announced partnership with San Francisco-based non-profit Miracle Messages is to help reconnect people with others who care about them and return into a stable living situation.
During the last week in January, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) tasks communities throughout the country to obtain detailed information on people experiencing homelessness in their area. This annual event, commonly referred to as the “Point in Time count,” is an instrumental effort for quantifying the extent of homelessness while improving our collective understanding of the factors that contribute towards homelessness.
Most regions in the US struggle through the annual count using a small army of volunteers who are sent out into the streets with stacks of paper forms. It is an incredibly time-consuming and error-prone process to compile the results that are sent back to HUD. Going with mobile tech for the count allows communities to monitor the entire process and see the results in real-time.
The Counting Us mobile app was developed by Simtech Solutions and is available for volunteers to download for free from either Google Play or the App Store. The app uses the GPS capabilities that exist within most smartphones or other mobile devices to identify the physical location where a volunteer encounters a person or family experiencing homelessness. The surveys found within the Counting Us app collect demographic information along with details on the circumstances that make it difficult for the respondent to find and maintain housing. After the count is over, the results are shared with HUD and are also used locally to help gauge how well the region is doing to address the issues contributing to homelessness. The data is also used to help identify if there are populations, such as veterans or young adults, which are in need of attention.
This year, communities using Counting Us have free access to Miracle Messages's reunion services. Miracle Messages is an award-winning organization that reconnects people experiencing homelessness with their loved ones. Miracle Messages’ reunion services leverages a network of "digital detectives" who attempt to locate the loved ones of people experiencing homelessness and facilitate a reunion between them.
Counting Us users will benefit from the strategic partnership between Simtech and Miracle Messages by including additional questions to their PIT survey aimed at supporting the reunification of people experiencing homelessness through volunteer-led efforts to locate loved ones, deliver messages, and reunite families.
About Simtech Solutions:
Simtech Solutions Inc. is a mission-driven technology services provider with a passion for developing innovative technologies to help people experiencing homelessness. Simtech’s core mission is to build and deploy a technical framework which enables communities to serve as many people as possible with the limited resources they have available. Over 3,900 agencies that serve the homeless in the US are relying on Simtech Solutions tools and services to quantify the extent of homelessness, isolate the contributing factors, and implement data-driven decision-making processes into daily operations.
About Miracle Messages:
Miracle Messages is an award-winning nonprofit organization that rebuilds social support systems for people experiencing homelessness. Miracle Messages’ mission is to end relational poverty on the streets and, in the process, inspire people everywhere to embrace their homeless neighbors not as problems to be solved, but as people to be loved. To date, we have reunited 370+ families, with an average time separated of 15 years. Reunions have resulted in getting a client off-the-streets, all at a fraction of the cost of other interventions. We offer a humane way to help end homelessness: reunite families, strengthen local social supports, shatter stigmas, and empower people everywhere to get involved.