Anchorage working on a new way to help the homeless

October 2, 2016 by  

Several agencies are working with the city of Anchorage, looking at how sharing data could help those without homes in the area.

In the near future, a computer-generated list of names, along with photos, case manager details, Social Security numbers and other information will be shared among agencies. The information has been provided voluntarily by homeless people, who signed a release that has been circulated through shelters and camps recently.

Those agencies that work with homeless families and adults have entered data about their clients into a computer database, which allowed Anchorage to produce anonymous data on the number of homeless in the city. However, the agencies have worked separately, unable to see what other agencies a client might have contacted for assistance, or what sort of help they have received in the past.

In August, the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, the city itself, and 12 other agencies that handle everything from substance abuse treatment to finding housing, agreed to begin sharing the information on the database. The idea is to enable the homeless to go through the system more quickly, without having to go from agency to agency in search of the appropriate service. Up until now, homeless people have usually been left to figure out where to go on their own.

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