We were thinking about a solution to how the homeless can find what they need. Instead of going the normal approach, we started wondering if there was a way for the homeless to find their own shelters and food instead of standing out in the cold or rain begging. Thus, Food N Shelter was created.

What it does

This website/program can be loaded onto digital screens positioned at bus stops and stations so that homeless people can use them. The website detects or asks for location data, and then pulls up a map of nearby soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and community housing. Clicking on one of these points displays the name of the center, making it easier to recognize. The homeless can now just walk to their nearest bus stop to figure out where to go next!

These digital screens are not just for the homeless; if people feel the need to contribute, we have added a secure Paypal donation link which, after each month, will manually be donated to charities. Also, on the main website, we have added a form for volunteer opportunities to help as well.

How we built it

The program was built with a Javascript/HTML/CSS front-end, and a python-flask backend. The front-end handled the form submissions, website design, and widget placement, and the backend handled the form processing, geolocation, and marker coloring.

To run the program, install the packages specified in the requirements.txt, then run python3

Challenges we ran into

We ran into the challenge of color-coding the markers, because the libraries used in the back-end conflicted with those in the front-end. We solved this by changing and upgrading a few libraries.

We also ran into location detection problems, because some locations were repeated and some did not show. We solved this problem eventually...

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of overcoming all the challenges, which in total amounted to over five hours of work.

What we learned

We learned that creating a program of this caliber can be difficult and intimidating; you have to keep pushing to make it work.

What's next for Food N Shelter

We plan to add bus routes and approximate timings so that travel will be more efficient.

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