Men’s Shelter of Charlotte gets a helping hand

Technology helping Charlotte's homeless

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Men’s Shelter of Charlotte is now totally paperless thanks to the help of the business world. The company Ingersoll Rand stepped up and offered to scan about 150,000 documents of information of guests from the shelter. Paperwork of about 4,000 homeless men was stuffed in an office and workers had to dig through the paperwork to find client’s information. Now that all the information is on a computer - the shelter’s work is a little easier to do.

"At our fingertips we have access now to thousands of client files," Men's Shelter of Charlotte Executive Director Liz Clasen-Kelly said. "So when we get audited and someone comes back and asks for something - we can just with our fingertips look up their information."

Clasen-Kelly says having all documents at their fingertips will allow the shelter to keep track of the homeless population and better serve them. The documents were kept in a small office, now that office has been cleared and a worker uses it to help homeless men get back on their feet.

"Where she can work one on one with guys to fill out job applications and online to work on resumes." Clasen-Kelly said.

Apparo Consulting is the company that connected the Men's Shelter to Ingersoll Rand. Neither organization worked together. CEO Kim Lanphear says making the match of a non-profit and a company in the business community makes a big difference.

"Bringing two organizations who might never have a chance to come together for a solution," Apparo Consulting CEO Kim Lanphear said. "To do that - that's powerful community building."

It took volunteers about five days to complete all the scanning. It would have taken the shelter about a year to do the same assignment. The price tag on this effort is about $20,000. Lanphear says this effort touched the lives of the volunteers and gave them insight to the mission of the shelter.

"Now people at Ingersoll understand the work that is being done at the very ground level," Lanphear said. "To lift people in this case who are homeless."

Since the shelter is totally paperless, the intake process is quicker. This allows the shelter to get men into a warm bed soon and makes the system run better.

"Efficiency is key here," Clasen-Kelly said. "Because tonight there will be 405 men that stay here right - so everything we do - we do 405 times over 365 days a year."

The next assignment for the shelter is to find some technology that can identify shelter guests who help out at the facility so they can be rewarded for the good deeds.

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