(Photo by Aliya Rahman)
Filling out the paperwork to apply for subsidized housing can be a pain. And there’s another hurdle for prospective residents with little tech know-how: tracking available properties.
So local community organization Bread for the City devised a plan to reach its clients as soon as a listing’s wait list opened up: with a texting app.
Hackers and housing advocates team up to create a texting app.
“Waiting lists open and close very quickly and they only accept a certain number of people,” said Terri Acker, a Code for Progress fellow who first encountered Bread for the City when she needed legal counsel while also searching for employment.
So she and two other fellows, Pamela Davis and Jason Towns, produced the customized app within a summer month.
Now when a listing opens up, “a text is sent out to say this particular housing complex is accepting application,” explained Acker, who now serves on the organization’s Client Advisory Board, organizing activities like computer, yoga and crochet classes and a rooftop garden.
Stacey Johnson, a rather tech-savvy social worker at Bread for the City, already used Salesforce to store the group’s client data.
Acker said she’s hoping to eventually do more to help ease the process of applying for subsidized housing. “I wanted to match up some of the landlords with the nonprofits in the city that would be interested in connecting,” she said. “It’s actually in my Github.”