Microsoft is honoured to announce that it is working with the Act to End Street Sleeping Collaboration on an initiative designed to help the NSW Government achieve its target of halving street homelessness by 2025.
Every day across NSW, thousands of people experience homelessness; the most at risk are people sleeping on the streets. The Act to End Street Sleeping Collaboration brings together Government, the sector’s leading NGOs and the Institute of Global Homelessness which have committed to work together on tackling the problem of street sleeping.
Specifically, in February NSW Premier, the Hon Gladys Berejiklian announced a target to halve the number of people sleeping on the streets across NSW by 2025 and work toward ending street sleeping altogether by 2030.
In partnership with the Act to End Street Sleeping Collaboration, Microsoft has been developing an online platform using PowerApps to support homelessness services to survey people sleeping rough and better connect them to relevant services.
The Minister for Customer Service, the Hon Victor Dominello said; “We are using digital technology to make life easier for some of the most vulnerable people in the community. Information is power and this real-time data will help improve policy and service delivery.”
The Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, the Hon Gareth Ward commented that “The NSW Government is working with the corporate and non-government sectors to bring new ideas, energy and ambition to reducing street sleeping. We are delighted that Microsoft has been able to bring to bear its expertise to develop this ground breaking technology to help tackle street homelessness.”
The application is being trialled as part of a Connections Week (this week) in the City of Sydney. Connections Week brings together a number of not for profit service providers, the City of Sydney and NSW Government to better coordinate service delivery to people sleeping on the streets in Sydney and test new methods of collecting and sharing information.
PowerApps streamlines support processes
Steven Worrall, managing director of Microsoft Australia said; “We applaud the NSW Government’s determination to halve street homelessness over the next six years and are proud to be able to play our part.
“To achieve NSW’s goal it’s critical to be able to identify people in need and then connect them to service providers able to help. Previously this process has been largely conducted manually with pen and paper and with service providers comparing notes. This means information has often not been fully shared and cascaded, or been available in real time.
“The platform we have developed will simplify data collection and it will make that available securely and in near real time to service providers so that they are able to act fast and help people in NSW who are doing it tough.”
NSW leverages the methodology used by the Institute of Global Homelessness which relies on a central By-Name List (BNL). The information collected in the NSW BNL, hosted by the Collaboration, helps identify individuals, and ensures they don’t have to continually repeat their stories to different agencies or service providers.
The PowerApps solution allows data to be collected from an individual using a smartphone app, and then made accessible to service providers in near real time.
Graham West, Convenor, Act to End Street Sleeping Collaboration said; Microsoft’s platform will allow us to access the information we need to support these people, to ensure they are in touch with the organisations that can help, and work toward our goal of ending street sleeping in NSW.”