Tag Archives: social service software

A Community-Wide Data-Sharing Holiday

As holiday assistance is underway for many of the social service agencies here in Kansas City, we are reminded of the benefits of community-wide data-sharing offered by MAACLink. 

Christmas Lady

Since MAACLink KC is a shared database, every agency that uses the system is able to see and work with the same information that other agencies in the community are using. This is extremely beneficial especially when agencies are working with limited resources and looking to do the most they can with what they have.  In Kansas City many of the agencies that provide holiday assistance enter those services into MAACLink KC.  Once a client goes to an agency and signs up for holiday assistance, that agency will generally enter it as a service in MAACLink KC.  If that same client goes to another agency the second agency will be able to see the holiday assistance that was provided at the first agency.  The second agency can then use this information to decide whether or not they want to provide additional holiday assistance to that client.

At MAAC we call this method “preventing duplication of services,” and it is one of the great benefits of community-wide data-sharing.  Since MAACLink is a shared database, the entire social service community can see the assistance being provided to each client by any number of other social service providers.  This is helpful not only when qualifying a client for holiday assistance but also in providing more well-rounded case management and other forms of financial assistance that may have restrictions on how often agencies can assist any given household.

If you think your community might be interested in exploring how MAACLink could help you better serve those in need please contact us.  We would love to come and meet with the social service agencies in your area and see how MAACLink can work for you!

If you are in the Kansas City area and looking for Christmas assistance please visit United Way of Greater Kansas City to find your local social service agency.


Bitcoin: Useful Homeless Technology or Hard-to-Access Fad?

Recently, WIRED magazine published an article by Daniela Hernandez called Homeless, Unemployed, and Surviving on Bitcoins.  With their laptops, phones, a few apps, and free public wi-fi, these people, who are homeless, have found a way to earn some money for food and other necessities.

opengraphBitcoin is a digital currency that can be paid peer-to-peer, without a central government or banking authority.

Based on the apps and payment rates reported in the article and current exchange rates (which fluxuate widely), back-of-the-envelope calculations show that people can earn about $1 (USD) per day using these methods.  Hernandez also reports one man receiving $500-600 over a three-or-four month period, suggesting that bitcoin donations, rather than micro-work (small tasks any person with a web connection can perform), account for as much as 80-85% of his income.

So, does Bitcoin have the potential to be broadly applicable and useful when it comes to housing our homeless neighbors?  I’m doubtful.  The micro-work these folks are doing, though, raises some interesting possibilities.

I can imagine a pilot project, stand-alone or embedded in an emergency shelter, where a computer lab, training and technical support, and micro-work apps are combined to provide people the opportunity to earn money.  In fact, Samasource is already doing this in Africa and India, as described in Leila Janah’s TEDxTalk embedded below.

Would it work in the US?  In principle, I don’t see why not.  Even in practice, where I imagine the wage level would be a primary concern, we can see from the WIRED article that people here are working for similar wages (if not less!) to what Samasource is paying.

Maybe if a pilot got going, it could even impact the discussion of a living wage!  That’s the kind of homeless technology I’d like to help create; a platform that helps people start virtuous cycles in their lives.

Getting online with MAACLink KC

Are you interested in using MAACLink KC for your social service software?

Businesswoman typing.

You may have heard about MAACLink from other social service agencies in your community or maybe you are applying for a grant that requires you use MAACLink as your social service software.  Either way, you may be wondering “How do I get online with MAACLink?”.  The process is easy and here’s how.

The first step is to contact our office and let us know about your interest in joining MAACLink KC.  We will start by asking some basic information about your agency; the services you provide, your annual budget, and how you would like to use MAACLink.   With that information we should be able to provide you with a quote on what it might cost for you to get online with MAACLink KC.  From there you can take the information to your staff and/or board to see if its a feasible option for your agency.

We are also available to do demos of the MAACLink social service software at no cost to your agency.

Once you decide you are ready to proceed we will ask you to complete the MAACLink KC packet.  Once this packet is completed and returned we will contact you regarding set up and training for your users.  We will ask each new user from your agency to fill out a Statement of Confidentiality and User Agreement.  Once each new user has submitted their form and received training they will be given their own unique login information for MAACLink KC.  With this information the user can then start to use MAACLink KC!

Since MAACLink KC is a website it can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection and the most recent version of Adobe Flash (a free download found at http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/).

We look forward to seeing your agency online with MAACLink KC!