DC Open211

The Problem

Among the non-profits and government agencies in the District of Columbia, there are many different directories of social services available to people in need. However, they are produced in isolation from each other — where they remain redundant, fragmented, unsustainable, underused. As a result:

  • People in need never discover services that could help them improve their lives.
  • Service providers spend precious time chasing information rather than helping people.
  • Decision-makers lack information that can help them assess communities’ needs.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Our Vision

We envision a metro DC area in which everyone has access to — and the ability to use — information about the resources available in their community.

Our Mission

Enable a network of institutions in the DC metro area to share access to (and responsibility to maintain) an open set of resource directory data.  

With success, we will: 

Make it easy for organizations to maintain high-quality resource directory data at lower cost, and make it easier to make use of that data in different ways, such as:

  • improving search results on the internet
  • enabling resource data to be accessed by service providers in whatever tool they use
  • promoting meaningful use of resource data in research and analysis of community health

All of this will improve service deliverability, yielding healthier individuals and more resilient communities.

Who is involved:

The DC government has pledged to publish directory data about all city-operated services, in the Open Referral format, via the DC 2-1-1 system (iCarol API). In progress now

Bread for the City to publish its directory of community-based services, in the Open Referral format, via its Salesforce system. In progress now

DC Open211 (in partnership with Code for DC, along with stakeholders such as the DC Public Library, the DC Public Defenders Office, Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities) to integrate these data systems through a shared ‘Resource Repository,’ to which various resource directory databases can publish and subscribe.

How to get involved:

Join our Google Group.
Attend a Code for DC meetup.
Get involved in our Github repo.
Reach out directly to the Open Referral Initiative with questions or suggestions.


DC Open211 Links