Inspiration

Resources in both time and funds to service the needs of the homeless are limited while the population of those impacted by homelessness continues to grow. We spoke to Tony and heard that there has not been discussions of getting him back into the job market. He also has doubt on whether he can handle the 9-5, 5 days a week sort of work schedule. A long term solution that we envision is one where individuals who have the desire and ability to work, can find the resources to support them in acquiring employment. This network of support would include employers who understand and can provide opportunities that are part-time and possibly transition to full-time in the future.

What it does

Our application is a central location where three main user groups can connect. Employers who are empathetic and understanding of the candidate's current housing status can post jobs and view potential candidates. Job seekers can post requests for items and services that would get them on the path to employment. Volunteers can donate items and services, as well as browse current requests that they might be able to fulfill.

How I built it

Our front-end is a mixture of react and angular. The back-end is supported by a Python ORM to interface with a SQLite database. Flask is the Python API for handling web services.

Challenges I ran into

We don't all have the same software stack experience which makes it challenging to integrate the various components of our app development.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Our team has worked extremely well together. Every member has been engaged, contributing ideas, project planning, design, and implementation. We've stepped in where we could and allowed others to take the lead when we recognized that their skills and experience were best suited for a task. In two days we have developed trust and respect for our individual abilities and contributions to the team.

What I learned

We had a vision and as we received input from the mentors, we began to question whether we needed to pivot. In the end, we returned to our original idea since we realized that we are developing something that fulfills a need that exists.

What's next for Connect for Success

We want to partner with other organizations to make more resources available to the homeless job seekers. We want to connect those who successfully acquire employment to mentor those who are just beginning their journey. Local and online learning institutions could link to our app, offering free training. Services such as Amazon Future Engineer could be a partner for the homeless youths. We also learned that many homepless people are employed. While the term "employed" is up for debate, there's no doubt that certain occupations are low wage. If we could offer training to elevate income levels, this can reduce the homeless population.

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