The City of Seattle is engaging Code for America to help divert homeless and mentally ill individuals away from the criminal justice system and connect them to health, housing, and social services. From January 2014 to January 2015 there was a 21 percent increase in men, women, and children sleeping without shelter on the streets of King County. Homelessness has devastating impacts for these individuals and poses serious public health and safety risks for the broader Seattle community. Homeless individuals are about 10 times more likely than the general population to be booked into jail. Homeless people who become incarcerated are more likely than other inmates to be charged with a non-violent offense, and to suffer from mental illness and substance abuse problems.
To direct these individuals to the appropriate and necessary treatment, programs, and resources, the project will build off of LEAD, Seattle’s successful diversion program, the department’s mental health crisis intervention program, and the City’s efforts to make services more available to help combat homelessness.
Meet the 2016 team:
Team Leads: Bill Schrier, CIO, Seattle Police Department; Sgt. Martin Rivera, Seattle Police Department; Sgt. Eric pisconski, Seattle Police Department; and Adam Campbell, IT Project Manager, Seattle Police Department
We are pleased to have such an innovative partner working with us to connect officers, service providers, and those in need quickly and efficiently. This is another example of technology driving positive change for all.
Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, Seattle, WA
Led by city contacts Amy Hirotaka, Bill Schrier, Bruce Blood and Julie O’Brien, 2011 fellows Alan Palazzolo, Anna Bloom, Chacha Sikes were asked to make it easier for the city to communicate with a variety of civic leaders including block watch captains and neighborhood council leaders. After a month of research, the fellows built a map interface offering info on local community groups while also deploying Change by Us – an online marketplace for community projects to encourage volunteerism. While the app launched initially in New York, Change By Us continues to be deployed and receive updates from a variety of supporters.
This team’s most successful project was perhaps Iconathon. Iconathon is an event series where community members create a set of graphic symbols for public domain that communicate concepts in civic design. Now supported by the Noun Project, Iconathons have created public domain symbols for concepts like “human rights”, “food bank”, “electric car”, and “sustainable energy” across the nation. To check out those icons visit The Noun Project website.
Meet the 2011 team:
Chacha Sikes is an experienced developer who builds organizational websites and participatory educational experiences. She was a core developer for the state of Missouri’s Department of Conservation website. She also founded the Drupal Open Garden Project, a collaborative learning project...
Alan Palazzolo is an interactive developer at MinnPost focused on open source software and data visualization. Before joining MinnPost, he was an inaugural Code for America fellow in 2011. He has also worked in the nonprofit and NGO sectors, both at home and abroad for more than 7 years.
The 2016 Seattle Fellowship is supported by
The Jacob & Valeria Langeloth Foundation and The Laura and John Arnold Foundation