Friday, April 14, 2017

New York City's free WiFi kiosks speed up access to social services

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As Citylab reports, the kiosks are adding an app from Austin-based Aunt Bertha — the so-called “Yelp for Social Services.” Aunt Bertha maintains a database of resources like emergency housing, soup kitchens, food pantries, transportation assistance, or childcare and healthcare providers. It covers everything from government programs and large nonprofits to neighborhood services, then makes all their information searchable by zip code in one place, rather than spread out over each group’s website. According to Citylab, the LinkNYC app will also highlight nearby services based on the kiosk’s location.


LinkNYC is a consortium that includes Alphabet-owned Sidewalk Labs and the kiosks have come under scrutiny for data privacy concerns in the past, but the group expects to have 7,500 total across the city by 2025.

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