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Do you have the tech brain and the Austin heart to hack homelessness services in our community?

The streets of Austin aren’t an easy place to live. Important personal documents are often lost or stolen, and without them, people experiencing homelessness have difficulty accessing important services like healthcare, employment, and housing.

The Austin Mayor’s Office, in collaboration with Dell Medical School and the City of Austin Innovation Office, is working to improve access to services by using blockchain technology to permanently store and maintain IDs and other important documents. We’ll explore big questions and potential paths forward in the Challenge, and use what we learn in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayor’s Challenge, where we’ll continue working toward exciting and innovative solutions.

UPDATE: The Mayor’s Blockchain Challenge was a success! Thank you to the amazing group of community members, developers, designers, service providers, City staff, experts, and Mayor Adler for co-creating a set of solutions that will significatly improve the lives of those experiencing homelessness in Austin. We are energized by your compassion and talent, and can’t wait to work with you more to advance these and similar solutions. Congratulations to the Compass, DigitalTown, Transmute, and Samiam teams for taking home awards!

We’re just getting strated. Thank you for being part of a community that’s making Austin better for all. Now that the Challenge weekend is over, we’ll be in touch soon with next steps.

About the challenge

Through the Mayor’s Blockchain Challenge, you’ll investigate ways to secure a basic need: a trusted digital identity.

Starting on July 13, we’ll release guidelines, info, and scenarios that you should consider when designing your solution. You don’t need to wait until the event to begin creating. In fact, we encourage you to start as soon as you get the first scenario!

Beginning July 27, we’ll all come together at the Faulk Library to share, refine, and test the solutions you’ve been developing. There will be service providers, people with lived experience, and subject matter experts on hand to answer questions and give you access to real world insights and testing scenarios. Faulk is located at 800 Guadalupe St., Austin, TX 78701.

We’ll take what we learn from the Challenge and apply for a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies which could fund continued work on these and other solutions that will improve access to services for those experiencing homelessness, and in turn empower them to improve their quality of life.