Published On: Wed, Sep 3rd, 2014

New App To Help Young People On The Streets

In the modern world, there is an app for everything.  Apple’s recent tagline “There’s an app for that” sums up the world in which we now live. With more and more people using technology to aid them in their daily life, there is always room for a new invention in the area. This month the charity, Centrepoint, have received a unique challenge. The charity will be developing an app to help them better understand the needs of homeless young people. The app itself will allow young people who don’t have a home to give the charity feedback and tell them how they can improve their service.

Homeless woman with dogs

Developing a high standard of social and community care is at the core of the charity, and so the app was a natural progression. With the rapid advancements in technology, it’s no wonder that charities are now using apps to their advantage. Much of the time when young people move on from the care of the charity, they are never heard from again. That fact is detrimental to the health of young people and means that the charity never gets feedback. Centrepoint now aims to learn how to better the services they provide for young people. The app is one way in which  they can learn more about the people for which they provide care.

One of the major criticisms within the social care sector is that people don’t understand the needs of others. The key to giving a high level of community care is understanding those for which you are caring. For many, who don’t have first-hand experience of homelessness, there are few ways they can grasp the severity of the issue. Those earning a diploma of community services learn about the logistics of caring for people. Whilst they need that education, they also need a deeper understanding of what it means to live on the streets.

The awful truth of the matter is that when young people turn 21, they no longer get access to support systems. Whilst these people are minors they have a high level of support in place to help them. Once they become adults in the eyes of the law, though, there is little charities can do to help. Many of the young people end up living on the streets after their 21st birthday with no access to social support systems. The tragedy here is that people have support stolen away from them.

Centrepoint entered the Google Impact Challenge with their app idea. The Google officials saw the potential the app could have for the greater social environment. Google awarded the charity a massive £500,000, which will help them to develop the proposed app. The app will allow people who the charity have worked with to give officials feedback on the services they used. That in itself puts the power back into the hands of the young people, who would otherwise have no say in the services. The app also has a social aspect to it. Users can share stories of their experiences as homeless people. Officials hope that this feature will allow more young people to help themselves get off the streets.

The data that the app will house allows charities to understand the needs of young people better. Until now there was no way to know what happened to young people in the community. Charities can use the new information to their advantage, offering better social support systems. By always improving their services, charities can aim to keep more young people off the streets than ever before. If the apps works well, officials believe that there will be more developments of this kind in the charity sector in coming years.