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Zillow unveils tool to connect Seattle’s homeless with affordable housing

Zillow released a new tool Thursday, designed to connect Seattle families with affordable housing options.

Seattle tech companies team up with city to tackle housing crisis

The tool is a byproduct of the city’s Innovation Advisory Council, assembled in 2018 as a partnership with local tech companies to devise creative solutions to some of the region’s most pressing issues.

Zillow’s affordable housing project was first teased at in early 2019, and has now officially launched for landlords and caseworkers who sign up for the program. It comes as part of a partnership with local nonprofit, Housing Connector.

The goal is to help those in lower income brackets struggling to get approved for apartments.

“We know there’s a huge gap between the people who need housing and the housing that exists,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.

By linking those people with caseworkers and property managers, Zillow hopes to bridge that gap.

“By partnering with directly with property owners and managers, we are able to increase access for individuals who are exiting homelessness,” said Housing Connector Executive Director Shkelqim Kelmendi.

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The Innovation Advisory Council that produced the housing tool also includes representatives from Amazon, Expedia, Tableau, and Microsoft among others.

Homelessness has been a special focus of the council, marked by a collaboration among Amazon, Tableau, and UW’s Information School Capstone Program. The project establishes a Homelessness Data Model to automate a manual process to help track investments in homeless services.

Elsewhere, Amazon Web Services and Twitter are teaming up on a prototype for an early earthquake warning system. The plan is to eventually “help prepare for a successful launch to the general public in the Pacific Northwest.”

You can check out the full list of projects, along with their descriptions, on the IAC’s web portal here.

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