Using smartphones to better understand homelessness
Jan 24, 2019

Using smartphones to better understand homelessness

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Each year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development asks local governments to count the number of homeless people in their areas. The task on the ground falls to officials partnered with nonprofits and volunteers. The data is required if you want federal dollars to address homelessness. The count includes those staying in shelters and transitional housing, but in odd-numbered years, like this one, people also go out on the streets to count the homeless population sleeping on sidewalks and in cars. It's a massive undertaking, especially in regions with high levels of homelessness, like Southern California. This year, some areas near Los Angeles are using an app to improve the quality of data they collect. It's a big change from the pen and paper method still used by most. Marketplace’s Jed Kim talks with Jill Replogle, the Orange County reporter for Southern California Public Radio. The O.C. is one of the places using the new tech, and she joined the count and downloaded the app to see how it works.

Today's show is sponsored by the University of Florida Warrington College of Business and WellFrame.

Segments From this episode

Using smartphones to better understand homelessness

Jan 24, 2019
In Southern California, where homelessness is high, a new app gets better data.
A woman pushes her walker past tents housing the homeless in Los Angeles, California.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Each year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development asks local governments to count the number of homeless people in their areas. The task on the ground falls to officials partnered with nonprofits and volunteers. The data is required if you want federal dollars to address homelessness. The count includes those staying in shelters and transitional housing, but in odd-numbered years, like this one, people also go out on the streets to count the homeless population sleeping on sidewalks and in cars. It’s a massive undertaking, especially in regions with high levels of homelessness, like Southern California. This year, some areas near Los Angeles are using an app to improve the quality of data they collect. It’s a big change from the pen and paper method still used by most. Marketplace’s Jed Kim talks with Jill Replogle, the Orange County reporter for Southern California Public Radio. The O.C. is one of the places using the new tech, and she joined the count and downloaded the app to see how it works.

Today’s show is sponsored by the University of Florida Warrington College of Business and WellFrame.

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