Stand Up app tackles Central Oregon homelessness

The app is intended to help homeless people and will offer needs assessment data to nonprofits.

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“I was at a (Homeless Leadership Coalition) meeting and a 17-year-old stood up and said that he had been homeless for three years and nobody had ever asked him what he needed,” Kevin Colussi, who started Stand Up, said Wednesday. “We had 20 NGOs participating at that meeting and nobody knew what the real problem was. So I was like, let’s get some data and see what we can do.”

Colussi, who is a stay-at-home dad and has a background in software engineering, created the app using KoBo Toolbox, an open source, data collection platform that was used to help track the Ebola outbreak in Africa last year. The app allows survey takers to anonymously choose from a list of 16 answers about what they need that include options such as “permanent housing,” “medical assistance” and “addiction assistance.” GPS coordinates are recorded so the surveys can be mapped.

(READ MORE: Bend Bulletin)

Meanwhile, in Portland, a Portland Business Alliance affiliate group says it will remove the controversial billboard downtown that implies all homeless people are addicts.

The billboard, which shows a picture of a person holding a sign that reads “Your spare change funds my addictions”, has sat on SW 4th and Morrison since earlier in the month. In that time it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, since it implies that anyone asking for change is only doing so to purchase drugs or alcohol.

As we reported last week, state Treasurer Ted Wheeler, the PBA’s chosen candidate in this year’s mayoral race, took the group to task for the messaging via Facebook. And an online petition for the sign’s removal has nearly 1,000 signatures.

(READ MORE: Portland Mercury)