Veterans

April 13, 2012

VA Launches “Project REACH” contest to help homeless find vital services

By Department of Veterans Affairs

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs launched a new contest today to help the people who help the homeless.  It challenges the developer community to create easy, mobile access to resources that the homeless need, when they need it and where they can get it.

“This contest taps the talent and compassion of the Nation’s developer community,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  “We are asking them to make a free, easy-to-use Web and smartphone app that provides current information about housing, health clinics and food banks.”

Project REACH (Real-time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless) was announced in collaboration with the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, and the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the lives of people facing economic challenges.

“Last year’s 12 percent drop in Veterans homelessness shows the results of President Obama’s and the whole administration’s commitment to ending Veterans homelessness,” said Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan. “I want to thank Jon Bon Jovi for being a part of that effort and for using competition and innovation to advance the cause of ending homelessness.”

One out of every six men and women in homeless shelters are Veterans, and Veterans are 50 percent more likely to fall into homelessness compared to other Americans.  The administration has adopted a formal “no wrong door” philosophy that means all Veterans seeking to prevent or escape homelessness must have easy access to help.

“At the Soul Kitchen we’ve seen the need for a simple, user-friendly, comprehensive application that connects those in need to resources in their community. As we sought out a solution to resolve the disconnect, we found the VA, HUD and HHS to be of like mind. Together we can provide the information about existing services – now we need the bright minds in the developer community to create a platform to tie it all together,” said Jon Bon Jovi, musician, Chairman of the JBJ Soul Foundation and White House Council for Community Solutions Member.

The ultimate goal of the contest is to create a national platform that enables health clinics, food kitchens, housing services and shelters to update availability of key services automatically on the Internet.  The winning app will collect, map, and electronically distribute that information for communities across the nation.

Five finalists will pilot their mobile applications at JBJ Soul Kitchen, where diners can cover the cost of their meals either through donation or volunteer service.

The contest will be conducted in two phases.  Finalists will be judged primarily on their ability to dynamically update information about housing and shelter near JBJ Soul Kitchen.  Basic performance criteria is described in www.challenge.gov.

Additionally, competitors must also be able to display information about local VA services, employment support, crisis hotlines and local legal assistance resources.  The first five entries to meet those requirements will receive a $10,000 cash prize and the opportunity to test their app at the JBJ Soul Kitchen.  The winner will receive a $25,000 prize.

“Putting this information in the hands of those who can help will make a tremendous difference in the life of a homeless Veteran or anyone who experiences homelessness,” said Jonah Czerwinski, director of the VA Innovation Initiative.

“Secretary Shinseki is very clear,” added Pete Dougherty, acting executive director of VA’s Homeless Veteran Initiative. “Our mission is to end Veteran and chronic homelessness.  Innovations that get information about services right to the point of contact in real – or near real – time using smartphones and Internet technology are going to have a big impact.  They are going to help us defeat Veteran homelessness by 2015.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz

31st TES F-35s take on Green Flag 15-08

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz Tactical air control party members from the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Bliss, Texas, monitor radios from a defensive fighting position while AH-64D Apache he...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Susan Garcia

USAF Weapons School JTAC graduates to receive hallowed patches

U.S. Air Force photo by Susan Garcia Master Sgt. Jared Pietras, left, U.S. Air Force Weapons School Joint Terminal Attack Controller Advanced Instructor Course instructor, and Tech. Sgt. James Larsen, JTAC AIC student, pass tar...
 
 

Leaders: Good, bad, forgotten

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — It’s been my Air Force experience there are three categories of leaders — the good, bad, and the forgotten.Everyone reading this probably thinks they’re in the first category, but we know that’s not the case. Airmen who work for you certainly wish that were true, but not every leader’s...
 

 

Are you ready to transition out of your uniform?

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Leaving the military is not as simple as staying home the day after your service commitment is up. Almost 23 years ago, after a summer vacation that lasted less than 48 hours, I showed up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with about 1,000 of my new closest friends. Fast forward...
 
 
561st-Patch

561st JTS enhances warfighter TTPs

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Nellis AFB is home to many groups and squadrons with important mission capabilities that make the U.S. Air Force the most flexible and capable force possible. The 561st Joint tactics Squadron is ...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Carter

Airman’s Attic provides free items, goods

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Carter Patrons at the Airman’s Attic look through the store’s inventory on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., June 18. The Airman’s Attic is a volunteer-based organization where Air...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>