Measuring Social Services

Equipping local service workers to measure service impacts.

By Starling Childs

The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) serves the Flatiron and NoMad neighborhoods surrounding Madison Square Park. The Partnership contracts with NYC-based nonprofit Urban Pathways to provide street outreach, safe housing, and access to healthcare and other services.

In 2019, Urban Pathways outreach professionals documented over 1,000 interactions with homeless individuals in the Flatiron neighborhood. Homelessness in New York, and other global cities, is on the rise and expected to increase. If the trend continues, social service programs administered through organizations like the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership can help provide valuable data-driven insight into the impact of these services. This insight gives these organizations and their partners the ability to prioritize the most impactful strategies to get more people on the path forward to quality affordable housing opportunities.

Innovating in the space

The Partnership’s Ginkgo mapping interface is used to track local services throughout the BID and surrounding blocks.

Earlier this year, the Partnership equipped Urban Pathways with mapping and data gathering tools in Ginkgo with the goal of optimizing the 35 hours per week providing services to clients living without shelter in Flatiron and NoMad. As a district survey tool, Ginkgo has enabled Urban Pathways to record each engagement in real-time, allowing them to identify homelessness trends and analyze the most effective approaches over time throughout the neighborhood.

What’s next?

Data from the Partnership’s Ginkgo account connected to to expose trends by visualizing the data in a 3D mapping environment.

This new level of insight from the geospatial analysis of the data can now be used to better inform the Partnership and Urban Pathways on how to offer needed services to clients along with more finely-tuned engagement with partners within city agencies, as well as with Flatiron and NoMad community stakeholders.

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