Open Referral NYC

Open Referral is a community of practice in which technologists, social service referral providers, policy-makers and other civic leaders work together to build a future in which it’s easy to share, find and use information about the resources available to people in need. Learn more about the nationwide initiative at OpenReferral.org.

In New York City, a network of local service providers and technologists are exploring opportunities to apply these practices in our community.

Our Work in New York City

We help nonprofit service and referral providers that work with people experiencing homelessness in New York City.

With our implementation of Open Referral’s interoperable data exchange format and tools, we can facilitate the creation, sharing and management of information about health, human, and social  services and the services of other nonprofit and government agencies -- at no cost.

Our solution is easier to use than a document or spreadsheet, while offering the benefits of a custom database — such as producing online directories for the public, and APIs that can share information with other service providers who also use Open Referral’s protocols.

We offer:

  • Training in using AirTable, a free online software system for creating custom databases with a familiar spreadsheet-style interface.
  • An AirTable Template designed to help you manage health and human services data such as: hours, location, types of services, eligibility criteria, etc.
  • Technical support to help you put your data into the AirTable Template.

Once your data is in the AirTable Template, we provide:

  • A directory website (example) that displays your service information to the public.
  • An Open Referral API (example) for your data, so it’s easy for you to share your data with other nonprofits, public agencies and funders.

To qualify for our free services, you must be:

  • A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in New York City.
  • Providing services and/or referrals to homeless people in NYC.
  • Interested in using and sharing better data about the health, human and social services available to NYC residents in need.

We also help facilitate the NYC Open Referral community of practice. Reach out for more information, and/or join our community group to get involved!

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