This is a guest post from Teri Ross, Program Director for Illinois Legal Aid Online.
Illinois Legal Aid Online develops technology and information to increase access to justice for people in Illinois who may otherwise be foreclosed from it, especially for those who cannot find or afford a lawyer.
Illinois Legal Aid Online, or ILAO, just completed a major overhaul of our online platform — consolidating four separate websites — including IllinoisLegalAdvocate.org, IllinoisProBono.org, and IllinoisLegalAidOnline.org — into one mobile-friendly site: IllinoisLegalAid.org.
I’m pleased to share our launch on the Open Referral blog, as the data model produced by this community has enabled us to increase the complexity of our information while simplifying the experience for our users. Continue reading →
For more than thirty years, Switchboard of Miami has helped residents of Miami-Dade County find information about health and human services whenever someone has picked up the phone and dialed 2-1-1. This makes Switchboard one of the longest-serving referral providers in the field. We’re proud to announce that Code for Miami is now working with the Open Referral Initiative on the Miami Open211 Project, which will transform Switchboard of Miami into an open platform — one of the first of its kind.
Over the past decade, Switchboard’s services have grown far beyond a friendly voice on the other side of telephone; they now operate Seniors Never Alone which provides regular over-the-phone engagement for a large population of otherwise-isolated South Florida seniors, a renowned suicide prevention hotline, the Help Me Grow program for childhood development services, and even face-to-face case management.
Now, Switchboard is exploring yet another new chapter in its long history: open data. Continue reading →
For many years, leaders in the Information & Referral (I&R) industry have sought to improve the reliability of exchanging the data they curate about social and human service providers in their community, with partners. In any given region or metropolitan region, it is important for these providers to know about other providers so they can provide referrals to their clients for more specialized services. However, with each provider tracking and managing their own such referral database, it adds up to a significant amount of duplicated effort and large discontinuities in data quality amongst the providers.
But what if the providers could agree upon pooling their efforts and sharing the data amongst themselves, either as a loose federation, or with one obvious centralized provider who is willing to share the data with partners? And what if, on a larger scale, they desired a similar type of pooling across their state/province or even country?
That’s where an agreed-upon data standard can facilitate the sharing of resource databases amongst partners using different software systems. … Since we want iCarol to continue to be the most innovative provider of I&R software, we are building support for Open Referral’s Human Services Data Specification (HSDS) version 1.0 directly into iCarol. Continue reading →
In the last blog post, we discussed the different technological products that have emerged through Open Referral. [See our entire 2015 Year in Review here.]
In this post, we’ll discuss the different projects in which people are using these tools to find new ways to share and use information about the health, human, and social services available to people in need. Continue reading →
A world in which information about community resources is easy for anyone to find, trust, and effectively use — in whatever way works best for them. This is Open Referral’s hopeful vision of the future.
In 2015, we saw the first glimmers of such a world. Let’s take a look: Continue reading →
Access to clear, reliable, re-usable community resource directory data is not just important for people who are seeking services that meet their immediate needs — it’s also crucial for people who are seeking to understand the workings of the human service system as a whole, as they seek ways improve health and wellness for entire communities.
Bread for the City — the primary community anchor institutions for the DC Open211 project — is already demonstrating the potential for resource data to spark systemic changes that tangibly improve the lives of their clients and the health of their community.
I’ve just reported on this story over at the Huffington Post. Here’s the gist: Continue reading →
Early last month, I traveled to Madrid to discuss the community resource directory data problem, and our work here in the Open Referral initiative, at the commencement of a civic hacking workshop hosted by Medialab-Prado.
Medialab-Prado is a publicly-funded “citizen laboratory for the production, research and dissemination of cultural projects that explore collaborative forms of experimentation and learning that have emerged from digital networks.”
And it’s a beautiful space, too 🙂
Given that frame of the workshop was ‘Commoning Data,’ I felt like this was an invitation I shouldn’t pass up. Continue reading →
Conceived and built by a team at Boston Children’s Hospital, HelpSteps.com (formerly known as The Online Advocate) is designed to help individuals and families identify social service needs and connect to local organizations best suited to meet those needs. The database includes over 1,700 organizations in the greater Boston area, and is maintained through partnership with the Boston Public Health Commission’s Mayor’s Health Line. …
This summer, the HelpSteps team is adopting the Ohana API and the Open Referral format… Continue reading →
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, many residents of New York City were left struggling.
Though a broad array of supportive services are available to survivors — from home rebuilding funds to mental health treatment — it’s often hard for people to know what’s available and how to access it. New York City lacks any kind of centralized system of information about non-profit health and human services. Given the centrality that non-profit organizations play in disaster relief and recovery in the United States, this information scarcity means that, for many NYC residents, recovery from Sandy never quite happened… Continue reading →