GlobalHack 6 Brings 1,200 Participants to SLU to Tackle Issue of Homelessness
Sponsored by Saint Louis University, GlobalHack VI kicked off on Friday, Oct. 21 at
Chaifetz Arena, with more than 1,200 participants arriving on campus for the weekend-long
hackathon, where they identified solutions for the issue of homelessness.
The156 teams were made up of participants who hailed from 33 states and seven foreign
countries, including India, Nigeria, Bulgaria and the Netherlands.
A special opening ceremony featured a welcome from St. Louis City Mayor Francis Slay
(Law '80); David Hakanson, University vice president and chief information officer;
and Laurie Phillips, CEO of St. Patrick Center, one of Missouri’s largest providers of housing, employment and health opportunities
for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
The hackers worked around the clock for 48 hours to develop their ideas, and then
presented their solutions to a panel of judges on Sunday, Oct. 23. After two rounds
of judging, the winning teams were announced.
The grand prize went to a team who designed a responsive web application named "Samaritan,"
which matches individuals at risk of becoming homeless with actionable next steps
and relevant resources.
Read the full list of winners
A team of SLU students made it into the second round of judging: Students Byron Abrigg,
Austin Smith and Brandon Smith presented a solution they named “Neighbor,” a care
provider management platform to connect individuals experiencing homelessness with
care providers and the greater community (those in stable housing situations who want
to get involved and offer compassion).
“It was an incredible experience to be with so many people trying to tackle a social
problem that I’m very passionate about, said Byron Abrigg, SLU senior in the John
Cook School of Business. “It was worth all the sleep lost to know that we were working
toward making a difference for the men and women who call the streets of St. Louis
“Participating in GlobalHack VI was an exhausting, challenging and overall rewarding
experience,” said Austin Smith, SLU senior in the Cook School. “Having the opportunity
to try and create something that our society desperately needs to attend to our homeless
neighbors was not only an experience in team-building and problem solving, but it
also was a lesson in compassion. I am thankful for the perspective this event gave
to me, and I look forward to seeing the world continually improved by compassionate
people using technology for good. Meanwhile, I'll be catching up on some sleep.”
The winning solutions will be made available through an open-source license so that
they are free for anyone to use and improve. Over the next 12 to 18 months, GlobalHack,
St. Patrick Center and other Continuum of Care members will establish an implementation
team and apply $250,000 of the prize money to develop one of the most promising solutions
and bring it to market.
The event was sponsored by Saint Louis University’s John Cook School of Business.
For a recap of tweets during GlobalHack VI, read more here, or review a SLU student's perspective of the event here.