Q: Kim, Linda and John – Congrats for winning Hack4Homelessness! Were you first time or seasoned hack goers? Can you share what your experience was like over the hack weekend?
John: It was my first time at a hackathon and it’s incredible just thinking back to it. The weekend was really exciting and I definitely had too little sleep. Having access to mentors and representatives from the industry was extremely valuable because their insights helped us to continually iterate. From the very beginning, you can instantly tell that VibeWire put a lot of effort into organising the entire event. I am super excited to have all the hard work pay off especially since we are still making our idea a reality!
Linda: I had previously attended a 1 day hackathon with Gavin at UNSW at the end of last year, which was really my only exposure to hackathons prior to the hack4homelessness. I knew i needed to go to another one, but hadn’t been looking out for any for a while. The Weekend Hack was quite different, to the one day event, there were many more subject matter experts and mentors floating around the space, workshops and we even got to speak with a few homeless people to really understand their pain points too. Overall, the experience was amazing, and I learnt a lot about the sector as well as starting a business over just 1 weekend.
Kim: This was my first hackathon and there aren’t quite enough words to describe the intensity, excitement and diligence in the room that continued from the minute it started. Working with people I’ve never worked with before, learning from people I’d just met, and thinking about the people and sector we’d come together to try and help was shared value practice at its best. I’m blown away by everyone’s commitment and passion for making a difference and I’m proud to be part of the experience. There were some self-reflective moments too that pushed me outside my comfort zone amongst the frantic but focused thinking and designing. And I thrive on that! I’d encourage everyone to participate, or even just observe, the magic of a well organised hackathon in an area you’re passionate about.
Q: What’s the best tweet length description of your idea – CareConnect?
Team: CareConnect is an online platform for orgs. working in the #homelessness sector to streamline sharing & booking services. It makes current processes more efficient & effective, supporting the strength of existing partnerships & creating new opportunities.
Q: What’s the scope of the problem you’re solving and where have you tested the idea so far?
Team: Our scope is to support the people working in the homelessness sector (and possibly beyond!) by providing a more efficient process for booking client services with other organisations. For example, an organisation provides accommodation but needs to work with another organisation to access medical services for their client. Our platform will streamline the current process to find, book and share information between organisations. It will also help raise awareness of the full scope of services available at each organisation. There is the potential to extend this platform to all services provided to those in need in other sectors. The first version of our platform will be designed for organisational use only but it could extend to use by individuals to access opportunities, where possible and appropriate.
Q: Outside of the hack, how have you continued to build on the idea?
: Four of our original team of six have committed to continue working on our idea as a passion project with the support of Vibewire
, Jewish House
, Exodus Foundation
and many of the organisations involved in the hackathon. We’ve been meeting with NCOSS and agencies that provide services to homelessness as we continue to research the needs of those using our platform, sought funding, and presented our pitch at NCOSS Investing For Good conference and Jewish House AGM. We have regular team meetings and are committed to progressing our idea beyond concept if we are certain we can build a viable product that’s truly valuable to the sector.
Q: On a more personal front, what has been your biggest learning from this hack experience?
Team: We have learnt so much about so many things over the last two months, but the biggest impact on us has been understanding the people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. We’ve spoken with and heard from people who have been or who are homeless. They’ve shared what it’s like to sleep rough, the many challenges they battle daily and what they’ve been able to overcome. We now know how quickly a situation can change and that it can happen to anyone at any time. And we continue to learn about ourselves and what we can achieve together.
#Hack4DV will take place Friday 8 Dec – Sunday 10 Dec
at MnM Institute
39 Liverpool Street, Sydney
If you are interested in mentoring the Hackathon teams let us know here!
Hope to see you there!