HelpStays aims to crowd source bedding and accommodation for emergency service workers. When a crisis hits, HelpStays will provide a global resource of accommodation for NGOs to draw from.
Some areas are particularly prone to natural disasters. In the case of such an emergency, whether it be a flood, a bushfire or a cyclone, trained volunteers are crucial - they save lives, and put lives back together. Emergency services, such as the SES, have logistics crews who try to sort out provisions for self sufficiency: food, water, and accommodation (generally tents). As such, volunteers are generally only available in the short-term. But what if you live in one of these areas..? Would you be willing to provide a spare bed to a volunteer? And wouldn't that be great for logistics crews and the volunteers!
As a home owner, with a spare room, you can register available bed(s) on the HelpStays website. All the site requires is your contact details, how many beds you have and how long you would be willing to have a volunteer stay for.
As an NGO, you can request access to the database. Only legitimate organisations will be given access to ensure that only legitimate volunteers are placed in people's homes.
HelpStays is a bare-bones rails application. It is cloud-hosted, so it requires minimal administrative attention. We're using geokit-rails to translate addresses to latitude and longitude, allowing region specific searches to take place.
In the event of an emergency, the NGO can look up the affected area to see what homes (and how many beds) are available. The logistics person can call home owners directly to place their volunteers.
- Cloud hosted (Heroku)
- Build on the Ruby on Rails framework
- RESTful API
- Language and platform supported by emergency services management systems
- Clean database, i.e. minimal administration.
Scope for Product development:
- Tiered service, i.e. organisations able to register: emergency services, community services, e.g. sports teams, interest groups
Ability to access backend and edit database:
- Grant access to NGOs
- Edit NGO profile information
- View statistical data, i.e. the number of beds available/taken within an area, which organisations have taken them, how long for etc.
Ability to access and utilise database:
Ability to register:
- Organisation Information: Name, Services type, Representative contact details, Number of volunteers/members (approximate)
- Registration and secure access must be granted by Helpstays administrator
- Latitude and longitude “search” returning number of houses and number of beds in an area
- Length of stay available for the bed
- Contact details of the home owner
- Mark beds in the database as taken for a timeframe (similar to hotel booking)
- Be able to see which beds are occupied by its volunteers so that bookings can be edited
Information about how the Homestays process works:
- Register the bed
- Organisation will call you to place a volunteer with you. At this stage you can ask negotiate and decide whether you accept the request.
- If no one calls, then your bed is not needed. To continue to be listed with the site, you will be requested to update the listing annually.
Able to register an available bed
- Input profile information: Name, Phone number, Email Address
- Input accommodation information: Postcode, Number of beds and Number of days willing to provide bed per volunteer
- Input for additional information such as amenities, food etc. and a note field for odd information, e.g. the bed is in an attic and has a stepladder.
(Each accommodation requires separate registration)