WHO DOES ORDSN HELP?
ORDSN's primary audience are the people who will use the EVERGREEN services - the mobile phone numbers and other long-lasting communications addresses that ORDSN will provide. But there are other constituents that benefit as well.
Who Benefits from the Oregon Digital Safety Net?
The people who can benefit from ORDSN's EVERGREEN services are people whose poverty and disrupted lives have meant that they have not had access to continuous communications services. This means, in all probability, that they have not had the same mobile phone number and the same physical address over extended periods of time. Who does this include? Those without housing, obviously - but there are many other groups as well. Refugees, prisoners re-entering society, transient workers, young people just entering the workforce, single parents struggling to pay bills, people suffering from many types of physical and mental illnesses, and struggling with various types of recovery from trauma.
How could EVERGREEN services help these people? Consider:
A transient worker could receive a job offer - even if the mobile phone he was using at the time he applied for the job has been stolen
An addict seeking treatment could receive a notice that a spot has opened up in a program, although she no longer has the mobile phone she was using
A homeless father could receive a subsidized housing authorization letter - although the address he was living at before is no longer valid
A young mother coming out of prison, who is trying to regain custody of her children, could receive a court document granting this - even though she has no permanent mailing address
But in addition to helping the direct users of EVERGREEN Communications, ORDSN can help their counterparties as well. Consider:
A community health program can find patients to ensure that continuing care is provided
A workforce organization can reach targeted individuals to provide benefits
A homeless service agency can communicate with clients to explain about critical changes in community housing policies
A home health care organization can reach hourly workers to offer new employment opportunities
An emergency government aid program can reach targeted individuals to provide cash assistance by making payments into a digital account
ORDSN will deliver services to people through their relationships with service agencies - public and private social services organizations, such as homeless service centers, that people deal with today. There are hundreds of such organizations, large and small, in Oregon today. Many service agencies have highly trained workers - social workers, medical staff, lawyers, etc. - whose lives are complicated by needing to handle the communications problems of their clientele. ORDSN can benefit service agencies by removing some of these difficulties - and also by making it easier for service agencies to find their clients.
The technical design of ORDSN ensures that smaller service agencies can easily enroll their clients in Evergreen services through a simple web interface. Larger service agencies may want to integrate their HMIS (or similar) systems into ORDSN directly.
Many types of institutions share the problem of loosing access to people who fall into the groups that ORDSN is targeting. Landlords, employers, courts, schools, and social services agencies have all indicated interest in ORDSN's services. But the strongest interest has come from hospitals and medical clinics, who suffer from problems in being unable to follow up with patients who have come in (frequently to emergency rooms) for medical care. One hospital system reported that the cost to the system of a patient who could not be reached for appropriate follow up care, and instead returned again to the emergency room, was six times more than the cost would have been had they been reachable.
The Oregon Digital Safety Net is being incubated and championed by the Technology Association of Oregon. ORDSN is designed to leverage existing technical capabilities, and to allow additional technical capabilities to be built on top of the platform it is creating. This is explained further in the "EVERGREEN Services" section.