7 Civic Challenges for 2019 Residency Program

pink San Antonio sky line civtechsa Residency program one month away civic challenges

7 Civic Challenges for 2019 Residency Program

The Residency Program is back with another year and another opportunity for startups to get involved with CivTechSA! This 16-week residency allows startups to help identify solutions for specific civic challenges here in San Antonio.

Last year’s success was boosted by Reckon Point as they took on the Aviation challenge and Kinetech Cloud as they tackled the Department of Human Services challenge. There has been major headway in their attempts to help solve 2018’s civic challenges. The Residency Program builds a bridge in which startups are really able to make an impact on the City departments. 

Listed below are the 7 challenges that have been selected by the City of San Antonio. If you have any questions about the Residency Program, please email us at civtechsa@geekdom.com. 

Challenge 1:

How can we reduce the amount of waste created by property deconstruction? In a typical home deconstruction, up to 25% of materials can be reused and up to 70% of materials can be recycled. Too often, these materials end up in the landfill instead of being reused or recycled. How can the City quantifiably reduce the volume of reusable/ recyclable building materials that end up in the landfill by developing a digital technology that connects sellers and buyers of salvaged materials?

Challenge 2:

How can the City encourage diverse participation on City Commissions & Boards? Over 1,000 applications were made to City Boards & Commissions last year. To streamline applications, the City Clerk needs a user-friendly application system that connects applicants to open seats, allows the Clerk’s office to efficiently analyze applicant data, and finds unique ways to reach underrepresented communities who are eligible to apply.

Challenge 3:

How can the City connect its citizens to affordable housing? Our community’s shortage of affordable homes touches hundreds of thousands of households. Half of all renters and one in five homeowners are housing cost-burdened in San Antonio. Both residents and affordable housing developers need space to connect. This challenge is to create an online portal that helps service providers and the public locate available affordable housing, and makes it easy for landlords to share information about available affordable housing units.

Challenge 4:

How can local government better connect to private sector services? International, local and small businesses provide important resources as vendors of goods and services to the City of San Antonio. However, many businesses encounter barriers to partnering with local government. Some of these barriers include the lack of visibility of upcoming solicitations (open applications), limited access to current contract information, and limited contact with small business owners. This challenge is to create a tool that makes it easier for all businesses to find and respond to the City solicitations that they qualify for.

Challenge 5:

How can address challenges faced by our City’s homeless population? According to the 2018 Point in Time Count of the homeless population, a total of 705 homeless individuals live unsheltered on the streets of San Antonio. In an effort to combat homelessness, the Department of Human Services (DHS) began a Coordinated Homeless Encampment Outreach Initiative with the support of six City Departments and Haven for Hope. DHS currently tracks individuals and locations using an excel spreadsheet that is updated weekly in order to provide the right services to individuals. DHS needs a mobile technology platform that can identify individuals found in these encampments in order to connect them to customized services that help address their unique needs.

Challenge 6:

How can we uplift the small business community? Launch SA, an entrepreneurial center that the City of San Antonio administers in partnership with LiftFund, manages relationships with over 90 local business resource partners. These business resource partners provide entrepreneurs and existing businesses with key knowledge, including business plans, licensing, permitting, financials, marketing, access to capital, and human resources. Launch SA refers approximately 5,000 individuals to local business resource partners each year. However, these referrals are inefficient as they must occur via telephone, email, or in-person at Launch SA. The City’s Economic Development Department needs a centralized system that helps existing and aspiring entrepreneurs navigate the resources provided by partners.

Challenge 7:

How can the city help panhandlers transition into a safer lifestyle? The city seeks a tool or technology that helps reduce incidents of panhandling in a unique and sustainable way that considers the social, economic and environmental issues faced by panhandlers. Residents of the CivTechSA program are invited to develop a technology solution that can be prototyped to address panhandling. This online application or platform could provide an opportunity for alternative giving to local charities, for example, or connect panhandlers to work on beautification projects throughout the city that pays them a living wage. Ultimately the solution must reduce incidents of panhandling in a unique and sustainable way that considers the social, economic and environmental issues faced by panhandlers.

Mark your calendars for February 15th if you are planning on applying! Applications will go live on our website on the Residency Program page.

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