ShelterTech Annual Report

ShelterTech is an award winning non-profit solving the biggest technology challenges faced by people experiencing homelessness.

Founded in 2016, ShelterTech is now a 100 member strong volunteer-only organisation with over $100,000 in annual funding, $800,000 in in-kind contributions, and 3 program offerings.

In 2018, we faced a serious challenge as founders and key leaders moved out of state. Could we build a resilient organisation, able to deliver world-class technology products for homeless communities, all while completely volunteer led and operated? The short answer is: Yes! We tripled in size, outpaced all our goals, and expanded all our programs. We can’t wait for an exciting 2019.

ShelterTech tripled
in size in 2018

ShelterTech exceeded goals across every program

  • 7

    ShelterConnect Wifi Installations

  • 7

    SF Service Guide Releases

  • 26

    Datathons Hosted

  • 228

    Organizations Vetted

  • 6

    Educational & Social Events

  • 50+

    Casey Research Interviews


People experiencing homelessness rely on the internet to apply for housing and benefits, schedule appointments with doctors and case managers, search for jobs, and stay in touch with family and friends. It's a lifeline for getting back on your feet.

ShelterConnect works with internet service providers to offer free wifi in shelters and transitional housing facilties and offers portable chargers to address battery charging issues.

In 2018, ShelterConnect expanded wifi installations by 228%

  • 3000

    people now have access to wifi via ShelterConnect, annually

  • 600

    people no have access to wifi via ShelterConnect, nightly

  • 200

    portable phone chargers distributed

  • 7

    new wifi installations, including 3 new emergency shelters

  • $50

    cost for wifi in a shelter for an entire month

  • $0.02

    cost for wifi for someone in a shelter per night

SF Service Guide

SF Service Guide is a robust and continously updated online directory for case managers, city employees, social workers, and people in the homeless, low/no income, at risk, and supportive communities to find housing and human services in San Francisco.

In 2018, we released an Alpha of the product but decided to hold off on a public launch while we validated the content on the site—trust is the biggest concern for people experiencing homelessness when it comes to referrals for services. The good news is we’ve now validated everything on the site and are ready for our Beta launch.

In 2018, over 2,000 hours were spent on the development of SF Service Guide.

The tech team shipped 7 releases adding critical functionality.

Directory listings grew from 365 to over 800, a 219% increase.

Over 200 listings were certified by our data partner, the Homeless Advocacy Project.

Trust is key to our success—
100% of our data is now certified.

ShelterTech takes a unique and ground-breaking approach to ensuring data quality by organizing public events called Datathons where volunteers work side-by-side with individuals who are currently or previously homeless to verify and vet the services in our system.

  • 100%

    services certified

  • 209

    volunteers attended

  • 1,299

    services added

  • 64.3

    total hours

  • 1,088

    organizations vetted

  • 27

    datathon events


Casey's goal is to create step-by-step guides for the most common issues faced by people experiencing homelessness.

In order to understand the needs of individuals experiencing transitional homelessness, the Casey team conducted service design research (also known as human-centered design or participatory design) through a combination of interviews, observations, and activities.

Casey guides are currently in development and will be release Q2 2019.

In 2018, the Casey team interviewed 50 people to learn about their most urgent needs.

Participant Information

  • 35.6

    average age

  • 13

    median years living in SF

  • 60%

    currently homeless

  • 60%

    no mental health history

  • 40%

    currently working

  • 20%

    retired or unable to work

  • 30%

    in school

  • 40%

    recently homeless

  • 50%

    daily user of productivity apps

  • 70%

    daily user of social media

  • 50%

    have an unlimited data plan

  • 30%

    have laptop or desktop

Reasons for Homelessness

Reasons for Homelessness

2019 is going to be a big year

This past year was a stunning success and gave us the momentum we needed to keep growing and surpassing our goals. Here’s what we want to accomplish in 2019.

  • Public launch of SF Service Guide

  • 2000 SF Service Guide users by year end

  • Host 45 Datathons

  • Install wifi in 8 shelters & SROs

  • Provide free wifi to 500 more people

  • 500 hours of paid work for the homelesss

  • Host 4 events to bring communities together

  • Launch our first Casey product

Want even more details? Read the full annual report here.