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Lisa Napoli: Homeless shelters have begun using state of the art computer tools to manage this busiest time of year. From the Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio, Janet Babin reports.

Janet Babin: Just like a hospital or other business, nonprofits that help the homeless need to manage information. Data like what locations have open beds, and how to maximize treatment options for clients.

That kind of software is expensive, though, and many shelters can't afford it. And that's where SAS comes in. The company donated some of its top analytic software to North Carolina homeless facilities.

SAS's Jon Weisz says the shelters would be hard-pressed to find similar products:

Jon Weisz: There is no software really out there that does this. They would have to hodgepodge and build some stuff using, you know, maybe tools like Excel and others, but they could never do the statistical modeling that's required.

Shelters could probably find fundraising software, but it, too, is expensive.

The initial program donated more than $50,000 worth of software and services to shelters. SAS says it's working to get the software to nonprofits around the country.

In Durham, North Carolina, I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.