Anglicare WA launches Web-App for homeless young people

May 17, 2018
  • App built locally by ‘Coders for Causes’

Young people experiencing homelessness in Western Australia will find their situation a little easier with the launch of a new Web-app by Anglicare WA and a UWA student team from Coders for Causes.

The App, called Home For Now (H4N), will allow young people to log-on from smartphones, public computers and other devices to find where crisis accommodation is available, then search for live options close to them. The App then makes a connection so the person using it can begin to get the help they need.

Anglicare WA Chief Executive, Ian Carter, described the App and listings as being a bit like ‘Airbnb for crisis accommodation’.

“Young people who are homeless report that the experience of trying to find a bed for the night, or a longer-term place to stay, is fraught with difficulty. There are no live lists with current vacancies, and accessing help is still through multiple phone calls on helplines.

“While these helplines do their best, it’s high time for a digital solution with faster access to information, and Home For Now is our innovative response to this need,” Mr Carter said.

Mr Carter said the App was made possible by ‘Coders for Causes’ - students from UWA, along with some design students, who collectively volunteered more than 1,000 hours of their time and expertise.  

UWA computer science student Ben Chidlow who is Vice-President of Coders for Causes said working on the project had been an incredible experience.

“It was a real eye opener to work with young people from less privileged backgrounds and see the impact being homeless had on their lives,” Mr Chidlow said.

“Working on an App to help them get the support they need and turn their lives around was one of the most satisfying experiences I have had, and it also gave UWA students the opportunity to work on a significant project to address a real-world challenge”

The Home For Now team worked alongside WA’s youth homelessness service providers to see how it would operate in practice, and to ensure the website is safe and accessible for providers and users. 

“It was necessary for Anglicare WA to be really creative with this project, and to mentor the coders and designers through our innovation processes. It was important for them to develop a clear understanding of the needs of young people in complex environments, and the capacity of the social service sector,” Mr Carter said.    

Home For Now will shortly be released for a two month testing phase within homelessness services to make sure that it is suitable and user-friendly before wider release.

MEDIA CONTACTS

Anglicare WA
Brian Greig
Media and Public Relations Coordinator
P: (08) 9263 2134

University of Western Australia
Jess Reid
Media and Public Relations Advisor
P: (08) 6488 6876

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