The U.S. Administration for Community Living provides funding and support to networks of community-based organizations who serve elders and people with disabilities. ACL’s grantees include a vast array of services that help people cope with food insecurity and transportation issues, manage chronic disease, support employment and economic independence, reduce social isolation, and address other factors outside of the medical clinic that impact people’s health.
ACL recognizes that this work is fundamentally collaborative. Vulnerable people require holistic support, which typically involves coordination among institutions; however, such institutions often struggle to work together, in part because their technologies can’t ‘speak’ to each other.
To address this need for interoperability among health, human, and social service providers, ACL has announced the Social Care Referrals Challenge: an opportunity to identify, test, and promote new methods for sharing data in the coordination of care across organizations and technologies, such as sharing information about resources and/or enabling ‘warm referrals’ across systems. The ACL invites participation in this challenge from state and community leaders in the aging and disability network, as well as health care systems, health plans, and health IT vendors.
Last week, ACL updated the Challenge specifications with a range of new details – including a criteria that any proposals involving resource directory data should use Open Referral’s resource data exchange standards (the Human Service Data Specification and API protocols).
[Our post today is from Adam Bard, founder of the Streetlives project. Welcome, Adam!]
What is Streetlives
Streetlives is a community built platform that will enable people who are homeless or in poverty to easily find, rate and recommend social services in NYC. This all-inclusive feedback loop can help stakeholders to collaboratively improve programs and services.
Everything we do is guided by the needs of vulnerable people. We run ongoing research and co-design sessions with the community, service provider partners and members of the city administration to prototype and iterate on solutions to their problems.
The first piece of technology we have launched is the Streetlives Street Team Tool, which is a mobile-first platform for people to create, gather and validate information on social services in Open Referral’s Human Services Data Specification. Continue reading
This post is from Stuart Gano at Socrata. See our post on Socrata’s blog here. When Socrata thinks about the future, we want to see government decisions driven by data on a massive scale, across departments and municipalities. And, we … Continue reading
Last year, the Miami Open211 project set out to demonstrate that an information-and-referral helpline operator can evolve into an open platform — providing machine-readable data as a service to its community — in ways that are both technically efficient and institutionally sustainable.
This project, which began in partnership with Switchboard of Miami, was Open Referral’s first formal pilot with a 2-1-1 provider.
Last week, we submitted the final report for this first phase of innovation. Many thanks to the Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade County, which funded our experiment, and Jewish Community Services of South Florida, the new steward of Miami-Dade’s 2-1-1 service. With their blessing, we are excited to share our findings with the Open Referral community.
See the Final Report document here.
And check out a summary of our key accomplishments below. Continue reading
The Open Referral Initiative’s next chapter starts now!
Open Referral has helped over a dozen community organizations find new ways to share resource directory information about the health, human, and social services available to people in need. Our Human Services Data Specification provides a common ‘machine language’ that any technology can be programmed to understand. This work has spurred a proliferation of ‘Application Programming Interfaces’ (APIs) — which publish machine-readable resource data for third-parties to query in real-time, so they can repurpose it in new ways.
So our newest mission is to establish interoperability across this new wave of resource directory APIs, so that machine-readable data about human services can be easily accessed and shared with a common protocol — regardless of technology, jurisdiction, organizational status, etc.
Toward this end, we’ve received funding from the Markets for Good program — which is now a part of the new Digital Impact initiative (digitalimpact.io) hosted by the Digital Society Lab at Stanford’s Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society!
Read Markets for Good’s announcement here. Continue reading
I’m pleased to share Open Referral’s 2016 Year in Review. (You can browse the document here, download the complete PDF here, or skim through the document embedded at the end of this post.) Continue reading
[Update: This pilot has come to a successful conclusion! Read our final report here.]
Legal problems: sometimes you don’t even know you have one until it’s too late.
When it comes to people with low incomes, legal problems of various kinds — issues with landlords, family disputes, rejected benefits, etc — can be outright debilitating. Yet while there are many legal resources available to people in need, these kinds of services tend to be some of the hardest for people to find and access.
That’s why we’re excited to be starting an Open Referral pilot project with legal service providers across the state of Florida.
With support from the Florida Bar Foundation, the Legal Services Corporation, and LegalServer — and in coordination with multiple other implementations of the Open Referral format in legal aid networks across the country — Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida will pilot a new, replicable approach to publishing directory information about legal services as standardized, machine-readable data that will be freely accessible to an ecosystem of tools and services that help people find help.
NB: we are soliciting proposals for technical leadership on this project. See this RFP.
To learn more, read this post from Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida’s Executive Director, Kimberly Sanchez, below — and you can also reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about starting a similar pilot projects in your community. Continue reading
This is a guest post from Aaron Bean of Asemio. Welcome, Aaron!
We’re pleased to introduce the first iteration of the Oklahoma Open 2-1-1 project, which is leveraging the Ohana platform and the Open Referral format to make it easier for Oklahoma residents to find and share information about community resources that can help improve their lives.
This is just an initial demonstration of a major initiative that dates back several years. A wide range of stakeholders across many sectors in Tulsa and our surrounding region have been developing a shared assessment of the complex nature of our social problems, and we have recently coalesced around a common goal: to understand and reduce disparities in health outcomes by race, class, and gender through a holistic view of the various community systems that serve individuals and families. (See our whitepaper PDF here.)
Toward this goal, we seek to answer the question of how we can better align and integrate the various resources in our community that might help solve complex social problems. Continue reading
This post is from Tim Davies, founding member of the Open Data Services Co-operative.
We’re really delighted to announce the Open Data Services Co-operative’s new collaboration with Open Referral on the Miami Open 211 project, and on wider developments of the Human Services Data Specification (HSDS).
At the Open Data Services Co-operative, we’re passionate about helping people publish and use open data for social impact, particularly where data standards are involved. We believe that data standards are a key part of shared infrastructure for collaboration. As infrastructure, standards need a lot of behind the scenes design, development and maintenance work. When standards operate well, most users will hardly notice them. When standards are neglected, all sort of opportunities for connection, collaboration and engagement break down. But standards are not just technical — they are fundamentally social: about connecting people as well as information. Continue reading