Using Rekognition (facial recognition technology) with Show The Way
Show The Way is intended to help serve the needs of people living on the streets. The pilot tests conducted in Charlotte, Houston, and San Antonio have revealed that it can be difficult at times for street outreach staff and first responders to accurately identify a person. Simtech Solutions recently migrated the command center that receives data from the Show The Way to Amazon Web Services; as a result, we can incorporate Amazon’s facial recognition technology, Rekognition, into Show The Way.
Rekognition provides the ability to uniquely identify a person during an encounter–regardless of sobriety, language barrier, mental state, or hesitancy to share information such as name and date of birth. The other benefits of utilizing this optional feature include:
Reduced intake times.
Incorporating facial recognition reduces the amount of time spent re-interviewing clients about who they are so that more time can be focused on addressing their needs.
Potentially increased chances for housing.
Communities need to be able to quantify the total number of contacts and engagements their first responders and outreach workers have with a person. This information helps inform the process of prioritizing people for any housing opportunities that may surface in the area. Any tools that can help ensure that each contact is counted properly should help the person’s chances of obtaining housing.
Diversion away from costlier interventions and improved care.
Example: It is often difficult for someone without a mental health background to help someone with a severe mental health disorder. A person with such a condition may choose to allow their picture to be used to help identify them and may also choose to provide contact information of a designated clinician or other care provider. By doing so, the person in need can be diverted away from costly interventions (such as jail and emergency rooms) and towards their designated care provider.
Each region needs to be able to document the extent of homelessness in their community. This information is important for funding decisions and to measure the impact of policy changes. Facial recognition enables people to remain anonymous if they like, while helping to minimize the risk of multiple people being treated as one person–or one person being treated as if he, she, or they were multiple people.
Individuals would be asked for permission before any pictures are taken, and no information would be shared outside of the region without consent. Amazon provides answers to commonly asked questions here.
Contact us today if you’d like to discuss whether this may be a good fit within your community!