SF Tech Company Develops App To Access Homeless Services

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People walk by a homeless man. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

People walk by a homeless man. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

BarbaraTaylor_KCBS_0001r Barbara Taylor
Barbara Taylor is the long time San Francisco City Hall Bureau Chief...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The first technology company to take advantage of San Francisco’s so-called Twitter tax has unveiled a smart phone app that makes it easier to connect the city’s homeless with social service programs.

Link-SF is the result of almost a year’s work by Zendesk, which developed the app, and St. Anthony Foundation, which compiled the data.

The free app lists the city’s social services in various categories, along with distances and availability, critical bits of information for those who need help.

“This is a perfect match to help the people who are trying to help themselves address some of the issues in their lives,” said Barry Stenger, executive director at St. Anthony’s.

The app is a tool for homeless, service providers and the general public who may encounter someone in need on the street they want to help.

One click to a list of programs, the population they serve, whether they’re open or closed, how to get there, phone numbers and other relevant information.

Zendesk was the first technology company to move into Mid-Market after the city enacted a payroll tax exclusion for companies that choose to locate in the area.

“We’re celebrating the fact that we’re bringing together people who are coming into this city and bringing their expertise,” Stenger said.

Mayor Ed Lee and the police chief were also at St. Anthony’s to pat some hard working backs.

“This is what we live for in terms of our public service. It is bridging the old with new,” Lee said.

The app has already produced positive results for Edward Aguilar, a recovering addict.

“I also ended up finding a job, which was pretty good. I ended up going to the job interview, and they ended up hiring me, which is pretty nice to be able to find some technology that I could actually use.”

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