Finding help for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who make up almost a quarter of those supported by Australia’s homeless services, is often a struggle.
That’s all about to change with the release of the redesigned Ask Izzy mobile website that now allows users to search for dedicated housing, health, food services and much more.
Lucy Turnbull and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull launching Ask Izzy in January, 2016.
Since it was launched in January 2016 by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Ask Izzy has had more than 500 000 searches for help with over 10 percent of users identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
Ask Izzy was built using funds and support from Google, through the Google.org Impact Challenge, as well as REA Group and News Corporation Australia. Its designers included people who have lived through being homeless, and the frontline workers who support them.
Infoxchange CEO David Spriggs (centre) with Google Australia managing director Jason Pellegrino and Google.org director Jacqueline Fuller.
With almost 80 percent of people who are homeless owning a smartphone, Infoxchange CEO David Spriggs says mobile technology provides an easy way to help people find support:
“We believe Ask Izzy is a vital tool for individuals and organisations working with Aboriginal communities. It will help to find the right services to support people facing challenges.”
The redesigned website aims to break down the barriers of people sometimes feeling ashamed and overwhelmed when seeking support, and instead helps them to feel welcome and included. Dan Laws, Coordinator of the Aboriginal Homelessness Network at Ngwala Willumbong, has assisted Infoxchange in reaching out to local communities and says this project has been a long time coming:
“Feedback from community has been one of ‘at last’ in terms of Ask Izzy’s helpfulness. As an Aboriginal person and one who works in the homelessness and family violence sectors, I have found the website to be beneficial to me as a reference guide, but more importantly to the people we support.”
Changes affecting indigenous people across Ask Izzy include:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service listings can now be prioritised across a number of categories, including housing, health, support and counselling, legal and finding work.
- More than 1500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services have been added or updated this year and there are now over 16,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services on Ask Izzy.