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Exploring emergency sheltering services for people experiencing homelessness in San Diego County

A system of connected tools

We gathered people from across San Diego County who support and provide resources to people who are unhoused to design tools that address the provision of emergency shelter for vulnerable people.

Participants designed tools that described an interconnected system for care givers and people who are unhoused to access sheltering services. Of note, this system would benefit from a structured data repository that connects to existing systems to benefit an array of stakeholders.


Low-fidelity Prototypes
Find out what experts in the field designed to solve problems associated with finding shelter for people who are unhoused.

Tech for outreach workers

The following mobile apps help outreach workers in the field match the most vulnerable to pressing resource and shelter needs or help those in the field who are finding shelter for them. The following mobile apps showcase these features. You can also read the entirety of each team’s ideas.


Shelter Connect app

  • Captures valuable data to understand who is receiving emergency shelter; and informs program improvements and equitable practices

  • Connected to Clarity

  • Reports on all of the client demographics, number of beds, and number of participants served

Read More


One Stop Shop

  • Browse providers in the region

  • Reserve a bed for two hours

  • Placement on a waiting list at a shelter

Read More


Real Time Resources

  • A seamless chat function that connects outreach staff, regardless of program, to each other

  • Search function to find the answer to repeated questions

  • Expert Is In feature where an outreach staff is available in real time to answer questions.

Read More

Tech for people who are unhoused

These teams considered how technology might make the acquisition of shelter more swift and more equitable. The following kiosk and web site provide the general public with key resources like shelter, where the nearest showers are located, and innovative needs like charging stations.


Resource Now kiosk

• Empower vulnerable people to find what they need when they need it, while accessing key resources like a charging station, small individual lockers for phone charging and security, a private way to access messages from resource providers, relevant resources (shelter, healthcare, and transportation) and timely important emergency alerts.

Read More


Shelter Connect website

  • General public access to a shelter matching feature

  • Login for shelter and case management staff

  • Staff can view and manage bed inventory and current requests for shelter

  • Future upgrades: services like food banks and other relevant resources; an accountability program to encourage programs to keep information up to date. 

Read More

Tech that connects to existing services

This team considered how technology might make the acquisition of shelter more transparent while using existing systems in the County to benefit from the data, structures, and resources they provide.


Sheer Shelter website

  • Connects to CIE 

  • Registered users can view and interact with information depending on level of access

  • Connects the case manager directly to the shelter once a match is made

  • An accountability program that ensures participating programs keep their shelter and resource information updated.

Read More

Next step: your ideas.

The strength of these ideas rely on your feedback. Please take a moment to offer your experiences and expertise to improve their initial ideas.

What would you like to see added?

What do you see missing?

What unique feature holds the most value to you?

Email address: 




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