AngelPoints is a project to help make excess hotel capacity available and affordable to Sandy survivors who need medium-term shelter. It will create a framework for those with hotel loyalty points to donate their points to Sandy survivors.
It is based on NYC Office of Emergency Management’s request for a platform on hotel availability
The team is keeping notes and progress updates in this Google doc.
We had a team meeting ~5PM Saturday, November 3rd about the project. We decided that the goals below were too ambitious to handle with the solutions and workflows we were designing towards, and so InnCrisis is presently paused.
Ryan (@myztiq) had quickly prototyped a system which could match sponsors with survivors. The system would collect money with WePay and then use the hipmunk API to produce coupon codes for hotels.
At this point we became concerned with logistics. How would we allocate the coupons? Who would do the allocating? Would we try to host many people for a short number of nights? A small people for a large number of nights? Would donors decide, or us?
We began conferring with Andrew, one of the crisis response professionals in the room, about what currently happens to people who needed short and medium term shelter. He informed us that the Red Cross generally commandeers whatever large physical spaces are nearby (gymnasiums, YMCAs, etc) and sets up bays while waiting for FEMA trailers or state support. Sometimes, he said, the Red Cross does try to put people up in nearby hotels, triaging first to families if possible, and working for discounts.
We began to imagine InnCrisis as a complement to the Red Cross’ efforts moving forward. It would use the psychology of the sponsor (“I want to help”) to drive larger donations for the specific purpose of helping put people in shelters. It would rely on the Red Cross to help triage people to those locations (something they already do). The value-add for the RC would be potentially driving more donations with the social element.
As of the break, we don’t envision InnCrisis being able to work well for Sandy shelters. The backend is just too logistically complex. However, Ryan plans to continue working on developing InnCrisis as a service that could be offered to the RC / etc to complement future response. In the interim, those who want to help Sandy survivors find shelter are probably best served by donating directly to the Red Cross.