Introduction

Over the past few days I’ve been trying to volunteer help in my neighborhood to various efforts. However, requests for help and requests for volunteers are distributed over multiple threads. Some people tried to collate things together and put them into a single thread, but the process was time consuming. Also, we created a thread to list contact info and location of people offering help and a few people manually compiled it into a map so people who needed help to reach out to others, again this was time consuming and centralized. People were also manually compiling lists of local restaurants that were open so we could support them. To top it off, folks were forced to repeatedly go online and discover opportunities for volunteering, helping and requesting help.

I felt like the underlying problems were

  • Nextdoor is not the best place to coordinate this
  • Not everyone is/wants to be online all the time
  • Managing these efforts needs to be more automated and decentralized
  • Discovery of efforts could be substantially improved
  • The solution should eventually scale across all neighborhoods, since they all face similar problems

Inspiration

  • Neighbors are actively trying to help folks in the neighborhood, however they make have limitation around days and times they can help
  • COVID-19 vulnerable people may need help with
    • shopping
    • welfare checks
    • video chats for support, etc
  • Local organizations need volunteers to help with
    • packing food
    • distributing food
    • misc tasks
  • Coordinating people who can help with those who need help is happening via apps like Nextdoor, however this is inefficient
    • not everyone is tech savvy, or on Nextdoor
    • now everyone is/wants to be always online
    • volunteers constantly checking for tasks that they can help with is inefficient
  • Support local businesses
  • Help people report emergencies/incidents

What it does

Build a platform that

  • Allow people to communicate/request/provide help via SMS/Chatbot rather than NextDoor
  • Provide a dynamic map of people who want help
    • Is this urgent?
    • What do they need help with (groceries, etc)
    • Where from (Target/Costco/...)
    • How will they pay for purchases
    • When do they need this by
  • Provide a dynamic map of people who can help
    • What kind of help can you provide? shopping, pick up/drop off, ...
    • Date and times you can help
  • Allow broadcast (via SMS/Chat/Voice assistants) requests for help and discover people to help via simple, interactive interface
  • Allow Zoom/other video chat based welfare check on COVID-19 vulnerable people (any one who requests such help)
  • Allow Zoom/other video chat based emotional chat with people who may be too isolated
  • Allow local help organizations (like food banks) to post requests for help
    • How many
    • How long
    • Dates & time
    • Requirements
  • Allow people to report emergencies/incidents
  • Allows submission and discovery of local businesses (like restaurants that are open and delivering/allowing takeouts)
  • Ensure that privacy of people participating is preserved

Essentially, we'd like to

  • Build a scalable platform (so this can scale to all neighborhoods)
  • To enable neighborhoods to support and help each other
  • With minimal friction (no app installation) and minimal UI (ease of use)

Challenges

  • Ensure that privacy of people participating is preserved
  • Ensure that platform is not misused in any way
  • Anti-Spam/Scam prevention on platform

How I built it

~~ In progress ~~

Challenges I ran into

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

What I learned

What's next for COVID-19 Neighborhood Support

Built With

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