Because of the ongoing series of wildfires within California this year, many evacuees are struggling to find basic necessities such as shelter and food. In fact, the drastic climate change globally impacts everyone, increasing extreme weathers and a surge of damaging natural disasters. Shelters do not open until AFTER the natural disaster, leaving evacuees anxious and frantically searching for a place to stay. With HomeFinding, we aim to bring communities together by allowing homeowners to offer their homes temporarily, free of charge, to natural disaster victims. We hope our community will first-handedly share their space with evacuees and assure them that there are people willing to lend a helping hand, that there is still good in the world. Additionally, HomeFinding promotes diversity and inclusion through community engagement and mutual aid.

*Informally, in a place where everyone is nice, we dreamed of everyone helping each other out in times of need.

What We Learned

We originally had HomeFinding made for California wildfire evacuees but realized that it can be applied to all natural crises. From the affected people’s perspective, we understand that they will be frantically looking for second options outside. We learned how to design the most user-friendly and accessible interface by creating a responsive web browser, making the website accessible from any device. We prioritize the users to effectively find a place to stay by not requiring the user to create an account. Users are given the option to create an account with the information they provided only after they have completed their request. This ensures users are able to first and foremost find a safe space for themselves and/or their family.

Challenges Faced

In the beginning, we struggled to decide what our platform will focus on and which solution to proceed with. Do we provide emergency information offline to evacuees? Do we provide immediate warnings to nearby fires? Is it helping evacuees manage their budget after a natural disaster? Do we create a space for evacuees to add emergency contacts with whom they would like to share their location with?

Furthermore, we struggled with designing the interface on the homeowners’ side. There were some wording issues that could potentially confuse the homeowners in how they interpret what is on their screen.

Future Add Ons - work with a developer to bring to life

  • Create a network for community organizers to connect with homeowners who are interested in opening their home
  • List services and resources for natural disaster victims who are unsure how to proceed after a crisis
  • Live updates on air quality, current conditions, and recently affected areas
  • Curating the platform globally by allowing users to toggle between various languages

Built With

  • figma
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