ReAllocate Inspires Hacking for the Social Good

Photo credit: Josh Wolf

Photo credit: Josh Wolf

With a mission to leverage technology for the force of good, the San-Francisco-based non-profit ReAllocate has organized HACKtivation for the Homeless, a weekend-long hackathon uniting techies with San Francisco’s 7000-person homeless and at-risk community.

In typical hackathon fashion, the weekend began with pitches, this time coming from local non-profits and city agencies. Participating techies joined teams that resonated with their passions and areas of expertise.

Gathering on a rainy Saturday at the Yammer HQ in the Twitter building, teams plugged away on a wide range of projects, each designed to have a lasting impact.

One group I spoke with is redesigning the website for St. Francis House, which serves the homeless elderly population. Another group, working for Larkin Street, is building an SMS-based reservation service for emergency beds, bypassing the need to check-in at the building itself. A third group, led by volunteers from Salesforce, is digitizing the Homeless Prenatal volunteer sign-up form, which they estimate will save 20 minutes per applicant.

The hackathon organizers, Kyle Stewart and Ilana Lipsett, organized a groundswell of support from across the community. Participating groups, along with those listed above, include tech organizations like General Assembly, Code for America, and Spotify, along with community-driven allies like Project Homeless Connect, St. Francis Living Room, Hospitality House, and the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation.