Meet Simi Bajaj from WSU

By | Hack4DV, Hackathing, Social Impact, The Feed

Simi Bajaj will be on the #Hack4DV judging panel this weekend (8-10 December). Simi is the Academic Course Advisor (Information Systems program) in the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics at Western Sydney university. Simi has been working in the area of DV actively from last 5 years supporting women primarily facing the challenges of DV. She is the DV coordinator for a charity organisation called Harman Foundation.

Simi has specialised in SDLC, Project Management, Test Strategy, Test Planning, Test Design, Test Execution, Defect Management, Test Management, Process Management and Implementation since 2004 and has a wealth of experience in all areas of the project and product life cycle and testing working with numerous industry sectors.

Simi has been doing research in the areas of Software Development, Software Testing, Information systems, Cybercrime, Phishing and Information Security. She has also acted as session chair in conference and published papers in local and mostly in International conferences. She has been reviewing papers for conferences and journals since 2004.

Learn more about Simi in the video interview below!

Register to participate at the Hackathon here

Support our crowdfunding campaign here

See you this weekend!

Catch up with #Hack4homelessness Winners ‘CareConnect’

By | Hack4DV, Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, Social Impact, The Feed

In the lead up to our 2nd social change hackathon – tackling Domestic and Family Violence – #Hack4DV [8-10 Dec] we caught up with our previous #Hack4homelessness winners CareConnect to let you know what you can expect!

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?
Team: Four of our original team of six have committed to continue working on our idea as a passion project with the support of Vibewire, NCOSS, 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 

Eventbrite registration 

If you are interested in mentoring the Hackathon teams let us know here!


Hope to see you there!

Vibewire @ I4G Conference

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, Social Impact, The Feed

Vibewire will be presenting at the Investing for Good 2017 conference!!

DEMYSTIFYING THE HACKATHON #hackforhomelessness Tackling the challenge of homelessness with a hackathon

Anne-Marie Elias, Chief Disruptor
Gavin Heaton, President, Vibewire

Investing for Good is a platform for organisations, government and investors to come together to explore financially sustainable ways to create social change. Designed to give attendees practical take-outs and key industry contacts, I4G helps us build partnerships that create social change and investment returns.

Thursday 9 November, 9am – 5pm
Australian Technology Park, 2 Locomotive St Eveleigh, Sydney

You can find the full program here

Our segment will include pitches from #Hack4homelessness teams Care Connect, Doti, Good Mates and Fair BnB:

Care Connect tackle the challenge of unused capacity with support services.

The Care Connect solution is to create a centralized booking system using Google calendars and a simple web interface.



Doti answer how we might we ensure there is a community safety net for every child in Australia to reduce the risk of homelessness?

The Doti solution to this challenge is to create a safe and secure physical and virtual community support network for all young people in Australia.

The Good Mates solution to this challenge is to provide a platform that brings together 15-23 year old young adults and people at and above the pension age. The young adults assist the pensioners and receive accommodation and a work opportunity that’ll lead to a profession in health care.

Homelessness and guidance for young adults leaving foster care in conjunction to support for aging community.

The Fair BnB solution to this challenge is to connect people looking for accommodation to share housing options.

Solving the problem of share housing.


Hope to see you there!

Hack4Homelessness 2017 Report

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, Social Impact, The Feed

“We may not solve homelessness for all, we may never see a day where homelessness is a just a rough patch in our country’s history … if we can work together to exit one person at a time from homelessness, that’ll be just as fulfilling as if we solved it for all, because in that person’s world, we did solve homelessness.”
— Maddie Wacher, Link Housing

Maddie Wacher from Link Housing perfectly captured the focus and attention of the 80-plus participants at Vibewire’s social impact hackathon – Hack4Homelessness. Run over the weekend of 15-17 September 2017, it brought together a broad range of participants from across the community.

Inspired by deeply personal stories of those who have lived experience of homelessness, shared over the course of the weekend, teams formed, friendships were forged and new businesses were created.

There were community supporters and collaborators from Jewish House, the Exodus FoundationSGCH, NSW Council of Social Service and New Horizons.

As well as real estate property portal, Domain Group, who provided mentors, data and expertise to help teams understand technology and data in completely new ways.

Check out the full Hack4homelessness event report here on slideshare.

Hack4homelessness Photos

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, Social Impact, The Feed

The CareConnect Team Win #Hack4Homelessness

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, Social Impact, The Feed

Can there really only be one winner in a social impact hackathon? Over 80 people worked tirelessly over the weekend to hack together solutions to social, technological and behavioural challenges of homelessness – presenting 9 solutions to the judging panel. We were fortunate to have Ricky and Lawrence – regulars at Martin Place – join us to share their insight and personal journeys.

All of the solutions were of an amazing quality – and with only three prizes, the judges work was cut out for them. After almost 30 minutes of discussion and debate, the decision was made:

  • 1st Prize – CareConnect a solution creating a centralised booking system for unused capacity in accommodation
  • 2nd Prize – Doti a solution matching young people, at risk of homelessness, with a community of aunties and uncles
  • 3rd Prize – shared between Good Mates and Blend.Co.

We’ll have videos and photos available soon – but in the meantime, enjoy our Facebook feed for the event.

Hack4homelessness Crowd Funding Supporters

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, Social Impact, The Feed
vibewire logo

We’d like to give a shout out to the amazing sponsors of our Start Some Good crowdfunding campaign!

Toby Eggleston, Teamsquare Pty Ltd, Jack Skinner, Adrian Stone, Sam Rotberg, Nayeli Brancaccio, Asher Tan, Nat Swainston, Rob Voase, (In memory of) Habib Barbara, Adrian Stone, Annie Parker, Tom Fleming, Alan Riva, Himal Randeniya, Usman Iftikhar, Adam Joseph, Maya Marcus, Mark Cohen, Carolin Lenehan, Tom Dawkins, Colette Grgic, Natalie Wadwell, Joao Medrado, Martin Hesse, Lakshmi Balasubramani, Alex Scandurra, Kate Powl, Roy Green,  Alex Harrington, Monica Wul , Alan Jones,Paul Wallbank,Liz, Jakubowski, AyalaDomani, Tully Rosen, Anna Robson, Anne-Marie Elias, John Dobbin and Gavin Heaton.


Thanks to their help we have been able to put together a great event and we look forward to seeing the innovative ideas from our hackers!

vibewire logo

Meet Peter Valpiani

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, Social Impact, The Feed
vibewire logo

#Hack4Homelessness starts tonight at Vibewire! (Running 15-17 September 2017) We spoke to Peter Valpiani, Chief Operating Officer for The Exodus Foundation, who is constantly working to find new and innovative ways of supporting people in the community.

Getting involved with our Hack4homelessness was natural fit for Exodus Foundation given their focus on innovation and design thinking. The Exodus Foundation has been working in the homelessness sector for nearly 30 years, providing over 3 million meals to the poor and homeless. While founder, Rev. Bill Crews has dedicated his life to improving the life of people who are homeless or in crisis, and has worked on the frontline in this space for 50 years.

The unique combination of free meals alongside the suite of health and outreach services provides a proven pathway out of poverty.  The Exodus Foundation’s emergency health & outreach services supply food parcels, housing assistance, and primary healthcare with the help of doctors, dentists and other clinical providers.

Peter believes ‘making a difference’ to homelessness is “about using empathy to understand the core needs of people who are experiencing homelessness, and designing programs and solutions that make a meaningful difference to their lives.  The challenge comes from establishing processes and procedures whilst keeping the organisation kind. Without constant monitoring the processes and procedures take away from the kindness”.

The Exodus Foundation’s team of staff and volunteers do inspiring things every day, from case workers who work tirelessly to advocate for a person in crisis, to dentists who make dentures that help people to smile again, to chefs who prepare up to 800 free meals every day of the year.  Peter “hopes that from this hackathon, a range of new, innovative, and human centered approaches to responding to homelessness are developed.  We hope that some of these ideas can be adopted and utilised to make a difference to people in need.”

Vibewire’s #Hack4Homelessness brings Australia’s leading technology, engineering and social impact students, social entrepreneurs and startups together to tackle the challenge of homelessness. Running from 15-17 September 2017, you can register as a participant here.

vibewire logo

Who are SGCH?

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, Social Impact, The Feed
vibewire logo

With our social impact hackathon, #Hack4Homelessness kicking off tonight! (15-17 September 2017) We thought we’d go behind the scenes to talk with our sponsors SGCH (St George Community Housing). With over 30 years experience, SGCH are a community housing provider who develop and manage sustainable, safe and affordable homes to create vibrant, inclusive communities. They have provided a place to call home for more than 8,500 people across 4,4000 properties in the Sydney metropolitan area.

SGCH knows the people impacted by homelessness and housing affordability. They’ve listened to their stories and know their families and their pain; “It is heartbreaking to fathom that over 105,000 individuals are homeless on any given night in Australia”.

SGCH were motivated to come onboard as a sponsor as they think Hack4homelessness is an important way to amplify the voices and the stories of people who have experienced homelessness and to shed light on the disturbing link between homelessness and Australia’s acute lack of affordable housing. As young people are disproportionally represented in these figures they resonate with the “particular focus on connecting young people with opportunity. It is about bringing creative thinkers together to come up with solutions.”

SGCH are in the midst of delivering more than 800 new, social and affordable and energy efficient homes, across Sydney by 2021, providing more housing and more opportunities for low income families and have worked with other services providers to house people who are homeless through a number of different programs. In 2014, they launched a pilot project with the Mercy Foundation, called Project Sustaining Tenancies Around Youth (Project STAY). This provided subsidised private rental accommodation and wrap around support services for homeless/at risk youth in the Bankstown area.

One of the great challenges is there is simply not enough affordable housing for lower income and vulnerable households to rent. The sheer length of social housing waiting lists across the country indicate precisely how many people in Australia are struggling to cover their full living costs and survive in the private rental market (currently, there are 59,000 applicants on the NSW Housing Register and this number continues to grow).

In a country as prosperous as ours SGCH believe “it is simply unacceptable that we do not have an adequate supply of housing to cater for the needs of all people in our community and are looking forward to hackathon participants “coming up with ideas and solutions that may give more people the opportunity to access what is a basic human right – a safe and comfortable home”.

Vibewire hope that we can make a difference by bringing together the community, like-minded businesses, government, the private sector and housing providers like SGCH to deliver more social and affordable housing and connect people to opportunity.

Vibewire’s #Hack4Homelessness brings Australia’s leading technology, engineering and social impact students, social entrepreneurs and startups together to tackle the challenge of homelessness. Running from 15-17 September 2017, you can register as a participant here.

Introducing Jackie Coates

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, Social Impact, The Feed
vibewire logo

Our social impact hackathon, #Hack4Homelessness kicks of tomorrow night! (Running 15-17 September 2017). In the lead up, we asked Jackie Coates, Head of the Telstra Foundation, why she was keen to get involved and support the event.

Homelessness is an issue that affects all ages, all genders and all backgrounds. As a seasoned corporate social responsibility leader, Jackie is passionate about “tech for good”, which she describes as the intersection of social innovation and digital technology. Advocating for the transformative power of tech to help solve social problems, (particularly challenges impacting young people) is why she was motivated “to support this co-design process that brings different sectors together to work on solutions”.

Jackie will be on Sunday’s judging panel and as head of the Telstra Foundation manages a community investment portfolio that supports young people and the non-profits that help them. Understanding that homelessness is a complex issue connected to affordable housing shortages, domestic and family violence; financial poverty, long term unemployment, exiting prison, mental illness, addiction, and disability – to highlight just some factors.  She believes “to make a difference, we need to pull together as a society and create better scaffolding for people as they face into tough life challenges so things don’t escalate to homelessness”.

Telstra Foundation is committed to working with non-profits that support vulnerable people and helping to skill up these organisations in service design to drive better outcomes. This includes design thinking, user experience, research and prototyping, and also business design; digital design and product development.

Jackie is looking forward to us “busting some myths about homelessness through empathy and understanding; getting more people connected and engaged around this issue; and bringing to life some innovative solutions that have been co-designed with people who have lived experience of this challenge”.

Vibewire’s #Hack4Homelessness brings Australia’s leading technology, engineering and social impact students, social entrepreneurs and startups together to tackle the challenge of homelessness. Running from 15-17 September 2017, you can register as a participant here.