Citizen Service for the Most Vulnerable

Citizen experience is a key priority across government. Agencies are taking a new look at citizens as customers and simplifying how they deliver services. At no time is that simplification more important than at times of crisis. The government provides critical support to citizens impacted by natural disasters, public health emergencies, terrorism, and economic insecurity. There are some incredible examples of how government is applying technology to meet the needs of vulnerable populations.

Supporting Homeless Populations

Austin, TX is using the Homeless Emergency Management (HEM) Tracking and Prioritization Tool as part of its larger efforts to understand and support the city's homeless population. Field staff use the tool to capture information about homeless encampments that includes factors related to health, safety, and impacts on infrastructure, property, and environmental health. This data is collated into a score that helps prioritize areas for intervention.

Before this tool, departments across the city were collecting different information and had no uniform way to evaluate it. The HEM Tool applies a citywide lens to encampment response, enabling prioritization and resource deployment to those that present the biggest risks, supports consistent encampment data capture, and improves citywide understanding of needs, risk and trends.

Curbing Opioid Abuse

A new regional data center will collect data on overdose deaths, drug-related encounters with emergency medical services and emergency departments, drug arrests, as well as data from prescription drug monitoring programs. The goal is to inform communities' efforts in the southeastern U.S. to reduce opioid overdoses, boost public safety, and encourage treatment and recovery services.

Having this kind of data means that decision-makers can see trends like if a large percentage of people start using a medication for an opioid use disorder, but they don't stay engaged in care. Then they can begin developing programs and incentives to keep people engaged in their treatment.

Getting Ahead of Mother Nature

Maryland is building a statewide network of 75 weather observation towers designed to improve situational awareness. This network will give state and local emergency managers the data and analysis they need to inform the public and reduce community risk from severe weather events. It also will provide data for post-event analysis to support disaster relief programs.

Speeding Storm Recovery

Cities in Florida used a tool called Rapid Damage Assessment Cloud Service to speed recovery from Hurricane Ian. The system enables "windshield surveys," a visual inspection of properties made from a vehicle. If a drive through an area shows the water level was at six feet, then an assumed level of damage is assigned to all property in that area. This allows the city to apply for FEMA funds immediately. This information can also be posted publicly to give citizens who cannot access their property a high level estimate of what they can expect.

Making Benefits More Accessible

Many states struggle with getting full participation in food and healthcare programs. There are many more people that could benefit from programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Electronic Benefits Transfer, and Medicaid than actually enroll in the programs. The Safety Net Innovation Lab is developing solutions to close that gap. Pilots in a number of states are focused on communicating with eligible participants via text reminding them to complete applications for a range of benefits.

GovEvents and GovWhitePapers feature even more examples of how technology is supporting improved citizen service.

  • Envision: A State and Local Government IT Summit 2022 (December 13-14, 2022; Cedar Creek, TX) - The Center for Digital Government brings together the finest minds in state and local government IT to envision the future. This event includes IT leaders from city, county, and state government organizations from around the country.
  • ATARC 2022 Federal IT Modernization Summit (December 15, 2022; Washington, DC) - Hear experts talk about where they are in the cloud journey and how it has impacted their ability to implement other new technologies. Speakers will examine the current challenges, recent successes, and lessons learned.
  • Harnessing the Power of Cloud (white paper) - Discover how cloud-based solutions have improved productivity and citizen engagement from the State of Oregon to Teaneck, New Jersey.
  • The Secret to a Streamlined Government (white paper) - Casework is the core of government work, yet so many agencies lean on disjointed legacy solutions to get from point A to point B. Learn the fundamentals that will drive real value for your organization.
  • Improved Citizen Services through DevSecOps Maturation (white paper) - As the American public has come to demand faster, easier, and more efficient methods of access to Government services, there is a heightened focus on improving digital services. Read highlights from a discussion among Federal Government experts on the challenges, successes and best practices of implementing DevSecOps to advance agency public service missions.

For more information on citizen experience innovations explore the resources on GovEvents and GovWhitePapers.

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