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by Jenni Davidson
15 August 2016
Button to direct people facing a housing crisis to services wins Shelter Scotland ‘hackathon’ support

Button to direct people facing a housing crisis to services wins Shelter Scotland ‘hackathon’ support

Mobile phone - Image credit: Manu Fernandez/AP/Press Association Images

An online button directing people facing a housing crisis to the most appropriate service for them has won backing from Shelter Scotland for further development.

The ‘I Need Help’ button will use factors such as time of day and location to automatically point users facing homelessness or poor housing to the most relevant resources for them.

‘I Need Help’ is the creation of team Acey, who won Scotland’s first housing and homelessness ‘hackathon’ to develop a digital solution to a Scottish housing problem.


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The hackthon was organised by Shelter Scotland and hosted by Product Forge in Edinburgh.

It gathered of 33 coders, designers, businesspeople and housing professionals and saw seven teams go head-to-head to create new digital solutions to some of Scotland’s most pressing housing issues.

The teams then presented their solutions to a judging panel of digital leaders, entrepreneurs and housing specialists.

According to Shelter Scotland, the judging panel was so impressed by the ideas that they decided to award a runner-up prize to another team, Xtreme, for its creation of an interactive real life story resource uploaded by people who had experience of homelessness.

Conrad Rossouw, Digital Manager at Shelter Scotland, said: “The standard of ideas, creativity and skills was amazing – it was a brilliant weekend and my thanks to everyone who contributed.

“The ‘I Need Help’ button is a great idea and something Shelter Scotland will take forward and add to our website. 

“We are also looking to use the real life story resource to help raise awareness of homelessness and how it can happen to anyone.”

Shelter Scotland intends to advance two or three of the solutions developed during the hackathon.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, who was on the judging panel, said: “It really is humbling that 33 participants would donate an entire weekend of their time to try and do something positive to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“I congratulate all the teams on their solutions – especially teams Acey and Xtreme - and look forward to seeing their ideas in action.”

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