Leveraging Technology to Find Solutions to Patients’ Unmet Social Needs
Rey Faustino created One Degree—an online resource for people looking for help with housing, employment, education, jobs, and other support—out of frustration. Faustino had been working for a San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit that helped low-income students complete high school and pursue a college education. He often found that the barriers to academic achievement were social ones—problems like homelessness and hunger that made it hard for kids to succeed. Finding resources to help them was a persistent challenge. “Here we were right down the street from Google and Facebook and all these other amazing technology companies, and I was relying on a dusty paper binder to find information: phone numbers were often wrong, organizations had closed. I wanted to build a system that would empower people to find resources on their own,” Faustino says.
In 2012, with many volunteers and a budget of $24,000, most of it supplied by foundations, Faustino began to build a database of local social service organizations and programs. They found more than 8,000 in the Bay Area. “That’s the beauty of One Degree. We can quantitatively show the number of resources in our community in a way that has never been done before. One of the things we see is a plethora of after-school and summer programs for children but, on the flip side, only one diaper bank in a county that has 40,000 low-income young mothers.”