ServiceSPOTTER, is a free iOS mobile app independently developed by Arushi Sharma, a 16-year-old Senior at James Bowie High School in Austin.
The app aims to assist the homeless and low-income community to connect with the service providers for food, clothing, shelter, and health care.
Currently, there are thousands of individuals experiencing homelessness in Austin.
With tough economic conditions due to COVID, the low-income community has also increased significantly in the last few years.
An independent survey by Arushi in 2020 of the homeless and low-income community in Austin reflected inability by many respondents to avail of the services provided by City of Austin and other charitable organizations.
This is mainly due to unawareness of the available service providers, and lack of availability of easy to access resources with comprehensive information on various service providers in Austin at one place.
The ServiceSPOTTER app is a small step to bridge this gap using technology.
The ServiceSPOTTER app has very useful features to assist the community. It has full details of 60+ service providers (e.g., hours of operation, phone#, link to website etc.) for key categories of services i.e., food, clothing, shelter, and health care.
You can explore map directions for the service provider from your current location.
An interactive AI based Chatbot “Spotty” can answer any questions about the services available by category.
The helpline phone numbers are available to call in case of need.
The community volunteers can submit requests to assist the service providers.
You can share your suggestions for adding any missing service provider.
This app could be used by the Homeless and Low-Income Communities, local service providers, who support the homeless and low-income, and community volunteers and City of Austin Divisions who can assist to help the people in need to access the resources by using the App.
The initial response to the app has been very positive. “You nailed it. This is what was needed.” Very positive responses from the users,
community, Austin City Council, and Homeless Division of City of Austin.
The app has received 5-star reviews on Apple iOS App store. In the last few months, the app has already been downloaded by over 1100 users and over 5,600 locations have been accessed.
Arushi is currently working with Homeless Division of City of Austin and service providers to promote this app and further expand its functionality, include additional service categories, and add specific programs/events like free breakfast, free clinics, etc.
As of now this app covers service providers based in Austin. The plans are in place to expand this app to cover service providers in Texas State and later nation-wide.
ServiceSPOTTER is available as a free app on the Apple iOS App Store. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/servicespotter/id1580907480 Scan to download app.
You can see a short video on ServiceSPOTTER on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJgrAwpKOPA Click to See A Short Video or visit the website www.serviceSPOTTER.org for more details.
Arushi Sharma, Founder and App Developer of ServiceSPOTTER App is a Senior in James Bowie High School in Austin with keen interests in technology and volunteering. Arushi has a personal goal to “Use Technology for Solutions”.
Arushi is currently working on research on Uncertainty Quantification, Software Obfuscation, and Encryption. Arushi is an instructor for software languages and other tech programs.
Arushi is the Editor-in Chief of Bowie High School Newspaper “The Dispatch” (Top 20 School Newspapers in US). Arushi received a National award from National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT).
Arushi’s efforts for volunteering were recognized by a National Gold Award from the US President for exemplary volunteer services.
Arushi is the Captain of her High School Golf team.