The problem. The Bay Area suffers from an affordable housing crisis. Many nonprofits exist to help individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Due to limited resources, each program has strict eligibility criteria – for instance, serving only youth at risk or single parents. Individuals who are looking for help with their housing situation often do not know which agency to call, and each agency in turn refer a considerable number of callers to other agencies. From the users’ perspective, this shuffling around can create considerable anxiety and exacerbate the feeling of being alone during a moment of crisis. From the agency’s perspective, it is difficult to track the amount of work and impact that goes into referrals, making it difficult to allocate more resources to following up with callers.
The solution. We developed a caller database tool that allows HIP Housing staff to easily keep track of callers, assign them to a consistent point of contact, and send automated reminders to staff members to follow up with referrals. The database also allows HIP Housing to view automated reports on its referral activities, tracking the type of resources that callers most need and the success of these calls.