The Realtime Roadmap (Nonprofiters.com) is a resource guide for nonprofits, case managers, and individuals involved with or facing home and houselessness. The project was started by Oz Ramos and later joined by Dan Linn. During the 2018 Portland Ideation Summit, the project and mission were given focus through industry insights from Eboni Brown, Elliott Hinckle and Denise.
- 1 Problem
- 2 Solution
- 3 Mission
- 4 Vision
- 5 User Experience
- 6 Required technology
- 7 Resources to leverage
- 8 Proposed Workflow
- 9 Future
- 10 Comments from presentation at Portland Ideation Summit:
- 11 How to Help
- 12 History
People looking for shelter beds struggle to find accurate, up-to-date information about which shelters have beds open, and who can stay there (some shelters have restrictions, by gender or pet acceptance, for example). The first app will solve this problem.
Future versions will do more. Exiting homelessness requires case management, especially for those with legal, mental, and physical limitations. However, the information available to case managers is often outdated, missing, or hard to find. And, sometimes the wait for case management is months long.
A realtime, always-current database of all shelter beds, with an intake form that relieves a lot of staff and case manager busy-work, enables people to reserve beds for an hour or so, and prevents staff from sending people to shelters where beds have been filled.
The future versiosns of the app will drastically reduces the amount of back-and-forth required to connect a client with resources, increasing the number of potential clients helped. At the same time, individuals without a case management have access to the same tools, allowing them to help themselves while they are on a waitlist.
Drastically reduce the amount of time required to exit homelessness, allowing case managers to increase the number of clients helped.
A world where everyone is free to pursue their dreams without fear of homelessness [needs edit, just my (Oz) personal vision].
Splash page: easy to understand; choose search or specify food, shelter or medical.
Triage form: intake - enough data about a person to offer only shelters that will accept them.
Form submit > results page: list of beds, appropriate for that person, ability to reserve for an hour.
For clients: smartphones or tablets with a web browser or ability to download apps. For staff: interent access, permission to enter data.
Resources to leverage
- API developed a few years ago about beds.
- “Obama phones” - free smartphones for low income people.
During the 2018 Ideation Summit the project workflow was refined through key insights from Eboni Brown, who works directly with the homeless ta Rose Haven and Transition Projects. The proposed workflow is as follows:
- Client or shelter staff lands on home screen
- The user can select from a common set of needs (food, shelter, medical), or begin the intake process
- If a common need is selected, they are shown the map (see GIF)
- If the intake process is started, the user fills out as much information as possible
- Resources are shown, in order, based on the users needs/restrictions.
Problem solved: clients are not sent to shelters that are full or won't accept them.
Reporting possibilities - who stayed where, where is overflow, where are more spaces.
Help people find food and medical help.
Comments from presentation at Portland Ideation Summit: 
“Add superbowl parties”
“Are homeless people tech-savvy?”
How to Help
There will be several ways to help, from collecting information to data entry, outreach, mentorship and beyond. Also, increasing smartphone use and chargind opportunities for houseless folks. The plan is to hyperfocus specifically on shelters within Portland, OR. Once the model is proven to work we'll expand to the rest of Multnomah County. We have multiple volunteers with datasets in Oakland and Boston.
...details coming soon...
The project was officially started on February 23, 2017 after I (Oz) experienced homelessness. It originally began as a spreadsheet of resources on February 1st, 2017 but after being asked by several other residents at the shelter I stayed at, I decided to turn it into an app.
Version 2 & 3
I stopped working on the project in July 2017 for a mental health break. The project was restarted in Nov with guidance from Dan Linn, with a focus on building an Intake Form that people could fill out, and the day-to-day development log can be viewed in this curated Twitter feed. The project was pitched to DePaul Industries and Central City Concern in January during a nonprofit coalition event by Dan (I was still too anxious in front of people after my mental health break).
Version 5 was started a few days before the 2018 Portland Ideation Summit, with the goal of building it easy to collaborate on. All prior versions required coding experience, which wouldn't scale beyond Portland. Version 5 is designed to be easily updated by members of the community. Ultimately, my vision is to pay individuals in homeless shelters to key in resources in their cities and to maintain the database. Eboni Brown gave her personal insights during the summit and helped define the mission.
This is the version that's currently being worked on.