Blog: Housing emergency? The new online tool for those who need help fast

Hackathon_triAhead of the launch of the new ‘I need help’ button, Shelter Scotland’s Jocasta Mann explains more about how this tool works – and how it’s paving the way for a workshop event on July 19 that’ll bring charities and the digital world together.

It’s a fast-moving world out there when it comes to technology, and more people are online than ever. Many organisations – particularly charitable ones – are pressed to keep up. The winning idea at our Hackathon last year was the ‘I need help’ tool, which aims to provide faster online support for the homeless or those facing a housing crisis. The idea won us funding from Comic Relief to develop and install it on the Shelter Scotland website!

Our website users have always been able to access housing advice when they need it, but when you’re fraught with the stress of an emergency, it’s much more helpful to be able to access the most relevant advice in the quickest way possible. Here’s how our tool works:

  1. Hit the ‘I need help’ button, which will be clear and visible on the main page of the website.
  2. You’ll be asked a series of short questions to determine your location, local authority, age and other personal circumstances so we can determine what kind of help you need and how we can give it to you.
  3. Your input will let us know what to advise – whether that’s consulting one of our Advice pages, or calling our helpline.

We’re delighted that the button will soon be launched, but we didn’t want to stop there.

We realised there is a huge opportunity for charities to improve the way they use technology to help those in need. So, on July 19th, we’re bringing charities and digital experts together in Building Digital Communities: A day-long series of workshops and talks to help both parties generate ideas (and hopefully even develop new products).

We’ll also be sharing the story of our own idea – the ‘I need help’ button – which we hope will highlight how beneficial it is for organisations like us to embrace tech, and collaborate with digital experts.

The event is shaping up to be an exciting day of networking, creative thinking and problem solving. We’ll also be hearing from a fantastic group of speakers. So if you’re a tech expert and are in the spirit of doing good – or are part of a charity and want to know how to improve your digital services – don’t miss it. Sign up here!

Meanwhile, we hope you’ll spread the word about Shelter Scotland’s ‘I need help’ button, which we hope will be live on the website on 19th July.

  • Jocasta Mann is the digital content producer for Shelter Scotland