Tim Underwood

Hope With Love

He is a reserve Air Force officer and Presidential Management Fellow alumni within the Department of Veteran Affairs Homeless Programs Central Office. This is national office that helped oversee nearly a 50% reduction in Veteran homelessness, with it having been effectively ended in 3 states and over 50 communities. While a Presidential Management Fellow, he was detailed to the 100,000 Homes Campaign, led by the nonprofit organization Community Solutions, where he worked to help evaluate and provide technical assistance to many of the 186 participating communities — that resulted in 105,580 of their most vulnerable residents housed by July 2014. Tim and the organizations he has worked have all received global recognition and awards.

In May 2015, he and his wife went undercover to experience homelessness for four days and three nights, where they identified a major gap that remains to end homelessness. He quickly identified a gap that is the inability to effectively and efficiently connect people at risk and experiencing homelessness to the relevant, available, and eligible services necessary for them to obtain housing stability. Tim saw firsthand that homelessness is a community level systems issue, and cannot be addressed compartmentally, nor without delivering services that factor the perspective of those experiencing it. Until corrected, he is determined homelessness cannot sustainably be rare, brief, and non-recurring.

To help fix this gap, he built a team to design, develop, and launch “HopeOneSource”, to help communities connect their most vulnerable residents to housing, social, and career services. It uses an innovative geolocated text message based solution that helps capture real time situational awareness and measure impact. By way of example, a local Service Provider may post a message on HopeOneSource of where financial manage training can be accessed for returning citizens who are ages 18-40 that are currently experiencing homelessness within a general area of the community. The Clients registered in HopeOneSource that meet those parameters will then receive a text message from the Service Provider with information on how to access the service. Other Service Providers can then see those services posted on a map when logged into HopeOneSource. Service Providers can then send text alerts with relevant lifesaving weather info, meals, health screenings, legal aid, job trainings, and more, while ensuring everyone experiencing homelessness has a free Lifeline cell phone plan.

Since HopeOneSource’s September 2015 launch in DC, overall homelessness has reduced by 10.5% and hypothermia deaths by 80%. HopeOneSource is sponsored by major international organizations such as Cisco and IEEE, supported by DC Government, while it has also generated a lot of global support after being featured at the White House.

Simultaneously to help fix this gap, Tim connected with leading researchers in contextualized care at the University of Illinois and I3PI ® to successfully help develop the instruments to measure and launch a mystery shopping effort from the perspective of people at-risk and experiencing homelessness. It is already helping many communities identify access and customer service barriers in a standardized data driven approach that is resulting in quality improvement.

Overall, these client focused approaches have already shown very promising signs to streamline access to relevant, available, and eligible services for the purpose of achieving housing stability.

Tim Underwood will be speaking at:

World Cafe: Solutions for Homelessness

- 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM ,

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