Technology for social justice
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News

Read the latest stories about how we’re using technology for good.

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Collaborating with the community has been essential to developing Ask Izzy right from the start, and we’re proud to say it continues to be a crucial part of any ongoing development we undertake.

Ask Izzy is a website that connects people in need with housing, a meal, money help and much more, and lists more than 370,000 support services across Australia.

This year we’re excited to have established a new Product Advisory Group (PAG) who will contribute their voices, skills and expertise to ensuring that Ask Izzy is the best it can be for people in need of support.

As representatives of the wider community, the PAG is made up of individuals with diverse knowledge, backgrounds, personal and professional experience.

In this post, we’re delighted to introduce you to PAG member Luis Herrera. This post also marks Homelessness Week (2-8 August 2020).

photo of Luis Hererra

 

If Luis Herrera could tell people one thing about homelessness, it would be that he never thought he would go through it.

“I don't drink, I don't do drugs, I don't gamble. Homelessness can happen to anyone, regardless of sex, age, education, colour, or religion.”

Luis migrated from Mexico to Australia in 2013 and began studying a Master’s degree in Information Technology. But then things quickly went south.

“While I was studying, my dad went missing, my family couldn't support me and my visa requirements wouldn't allow me to work full time. It became a downward spiral from there until it became unsustainable.”

For him, Luis’ experiences highlight the importance of having a safe and secure place to call home. He says we need to challenge the idea that homelessness is just about people living on the streets.

“Homelessness is also couch surfing, having to jump from bed to bed without knowing where you will sleep tonight. Homelessness is not having a private place to spend some time with friends or family,” he says.

“Homelessness is the origin of many other problems, such as drug addiction to cope with it and mental health issues by living under constant stress – not the other way around.

“A home shouldn't be seen as something that is nice to have, but a priority in a society that deems itself as caring of its members.”

Luis didn’t have Ask Izzy when he was experiencing homelessness, but he’s glad that he can now contribute to it by being a PAG member and helping others who might be having a tough time.

“The experience [of homelessness] has somewhat forced me to become a better version of me, to be more compassionate towards the people who might be in need,” he says.

“It would have been awesome to know [Ask Izzy] existed. It is an amazing idea on how to use technology to help people who otherwise wouldn't know where to look for help, so when I was invited to join the group it was just way too easy to say 'yes'.”

Luis is looking forward to providing his own insights into the migrant experience and how easy it is to slip through the cracks when support vanishes.

Luis is also deeply passionate about technology and its potential to help people who need support. He says the PAG will play an important role in shining light on the real needs of people who have been "in the trenches'” and supporting the development of Ask Izzy to best support them.

“Computers can't make a better society by themselves. They need the human factor. We’re up for the challenge.”


The Australian Government is funding enhancements to Ask Izzy to help Aussies doing it tough during COVID-19.

Since COVID-19 hit, more Australians than ever have been experiencing financial stress. This has highlighted a need to help those most vulnerable make more informed decisions when managing their money online.

One of the biggest lessons we're learning from COVID-19 is how crucial it is to have good, reliable technology. Find out how much you need to be spending on tech so your organisation continues to thrive after COVID-19.

Sleep at the 'G looked a little different this year. Usually our team sleep out at Melbourne’s iconic MCG but this year we had to get more creative, setting up makeshift beds in our gardens, balconies garages and floors.

We’ve broken down some of the latest data to show how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the way people in need are searching for help on Ask Izzy.

We're proud to be a supporter of this year’s Privacy Awareness Week. With many aspects of our lives shifting thanks to COVID-19, here are some practical tips on how to protect your privacy during this time.

Many tech organisations are providing extra resources to help the workforce cope with the added strain from the coronavirus pandemic - here is a list of resources particularly relevant for not-for-profits.

Working from home is not without its challenges, especially on the social side of things. Here are some of the measures we’re taking to ensure our staff are feeling supported, happy and healthy throughout the COVID-19 crisis:

The COVID-19 crisis has made us more dependent than ever before on the digital world. Here are some of our tips to help everyone stay connected during this time. 

Our “Greener Infoxchange” team share their top tips for reducing energy consumption and waste while working from home during COVID-19.

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