First Resort: Building social services resources at DC Public Library

[This is a guest post from Keith Porcaro of Social Impact Lab (SIMLab). SIMLab is partnering with the DC Public Library and the DC Open211 project on a project made possible by the Knight Foundation’s Prototype Fund.]

Particularly for those on the wrong side of the digital divide, people often turn to the library for information on where to find help. The DC Public Library (DCPL) is working to better meet this need, by improving how it provides recommendations and resources on social services in the city, and equipping librarians with question-and-answer tools that can help draw out other services that a person might need. We’re excited to announce that—with support from the Knight Foundation’s Prototype Fund and Open Referral Initiative—SIMLab is partnering with DCPL to help. Continue reading

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Building Alameda County’s First Public Health & Human Services Data Portal

Cross-posted from the blog of the Urban Strategies Council. The stakeholders mentioned here all participated in the Open Referral workshop last July.

Urban Strategies Council, First Five Alameda County and Eden I&R (the provider of 2-1-1 services in Alameda County) recently agreed to jointly build the first ever Health and Human Service Directory Data Portal in California.

The Data Portal will increase accessibility to Health and Human Services Information resources that can be utilized by the public as well as technologists who can use the information to generate new apps and tools for the residents of Alameda County. For example, an app can be designed to provide information to crime victims or single mothers to help them find the specific services they likely need. The same benefit applies for county agencies or researchers trying to plan for gaps in current services — better data and better policies. Continue reading

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Open Referral all over: hacks at Code Across and Open Data Day

Last month, during International Open Data Day — which coincided with Code for America’s CodeAcross activities throughout the weekend of February 20-22nd — hundreds of civic hacking events around the world brought together community leaders, technologists, planners, government officials, and more.

150211-CodeAcross2015_Banner-smallParticipants identified common challenges and worked together to envision, design, and even prototype new kinds of solutions.

This year, Open Referral turned out to be a popular challenge! Here’s a roundup of some of the activities. Continue reading

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Open Referral in Action: the Purple Binder Platform

This is a guest post from Joseph Flesh, the co-founder of Purple Binder.

We’re proud to announce one of the first instances of open, standardized community resource data in action. Purple Binder and mRelief — another emerging civic technology startup based in Chicago — are using the Open Referral standard to integrate their applications.

Purple Binder matches people with the services they need to stay healthy… mRelief has similar goals of connecting people with resources that can help them meet their needs — but their product takes a very different approach. Continue reading

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