ShelterTech’s mission to connect people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity to resources that address their challenges is only possible with the support of our community representatives whom we affectionately refer to as CRs. Our CRs have all experienced homelessness first hand, and we collaborate with them to soak up their invaluable insights and knowledge, develop new product offerings, and, most importantly, engage with volunteers at our datathons. Datathons are public events where volunteers from the community help us verify data in SFServiceGuide, our online directory of human services in San Francisco. Our CRs are vibrant, intellectual, and kind. They proudly voice their thoughts and passionately help us iterate and communicate our ideas to their communities — while also telling a story or joke along the way. The SFService Guide platform and our other initiatives are only possible with the continuous support and feedback of our CRs who enable us to create relevant and helpful products through their guidance and shared experiences. We are excited to launch the ShelterTech Community Stories series so that we can share our CRs unique stories widely. Each chapter will feature a conversation with one of our community representatives. We hope that anyone reading this will discover a new lens into the lives of those who have experienced homelessness and be inspired to take action in their own communities. Check out Chapter 1: Remembering Aaron Mendez
ShelterTech Community Stories is a collection of stories highlighting the lives of our Community Representatives, the people inspiring the work of ShelterTech. More information about this initiative is available here. For our inaugural entry, we are spotlighting Aaron Mendez. Aaron is the reason why our Community Representative (CR) program is so robust today. An influencer in his community, he quickly became one of our go-to advisors on everything from new product ideas to community partnerships to implementing Wi-Fi in shelters. Aaron passed away in June 2020, but his contributions continue to influence ShelterTech and the people behind it. Below we have compiled a few anecdotes and remembrances to spotlight Aaron’s vivacity, sagacity, and magnanimity — qualities that made him integral to our community.