Developed by NKU students, app is the first of its kind in the nation

Monday, November 23, 2015

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – As the weather turns cold, connecting the thousands of homeless across Greater Cincinnati with outreach services and shelters becomes increasingly important.

A new app developed at Northern Kentucky University puts that technology right in the palm of your hand for the first time.

“Street Reach” aims to break down barriers between the homeless and existing outreach services by allowing users to make electronic reports of individuals in need.

“As the weather turns cold, we know that more resources are available to the homeless. Our community’s challenge is how to more effectively connect those in need with the resources already available in our community,” said Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness.

Street Reach allows members of the public to make an electronic report to an outreach worker when they encounter someone in need of help. It also allows the homeless to reach out for help.

“Street Reach makes it possible for community members to provide help to the homeless, and also educates the public about what resources are available in our community,” said Rachael Winters, NKU professor of social work and former director of the Emergency Shelter of NKY. “We believe that it could become a national model.”

Street Reach is a partnership between NKU’s Center for Applied Informatics, Strategies to End Homelessness, and other outreach and service agencies. The app has been in development since February and was beta-tested in October.

And it’s easy to use: when a community member meets someone living outside, he or she can simply open the app, which uses location-based technology to automatically identify where the report is submitted.

The user can enter a few quick details, such as the individual’s age, race and gender, and then click send. The report is emailed directly to an outreach worker who specializes in working with the homeless and will make contact with the individual.

The free app is available in the Android and Apple stores. A web-based version is also available online at www.streetreachcincy.com .



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Shared by: Strategies to End Homelessness