Submitted by bluemoss_co t3_znpbfk in Pennsylvania


It's called St. Vincent de Paul Assistance Center (named after St. De Paul because he is known for having dedicated his life to helping the poor). At the moment, most of the data is either in PA or TX (I’m having to add the data myself).

I had the idea for the project when I was trying to think of ways that web infrastructure can help cities build physical infrastructure. I started to think more broadly, and thought about how so many people in my community are struggling, and could be helped if they knew about social services in their area. I decided that St. De Paul can be a solution to this problem and other problems: to reduce homelessness, and to reduce poverty.

It is very much location-based, like craigslist (though people can get help from outside of their communities). Currently in the works: messaging, following, reviews, commenting. I just wanted to share the MVP (minimum viable product) so that people know St. De Paul is ready to help ASAP. (I had the idea for St. De Paul a week ago and a half ago, and have been working on it ever since. I know it's a very quick MVP -- I'm using some code from some of my older personal projects.) I'm still debugging though, so you may run into some bugs.

I'm hoping that people will register and add information to the wiki for their area (categories: social services, free education that helps people develop skills for a better job (with testimonials), scholarships, etc). There will be points for this, and there will be a "Top Helpers in Your Area" page that will encourage people to add information. People / organizations also get points for donating or providing services to people in their area (they also get points for donating or providing services outside of their area, but this gives fewer points). 100% of donations and services to people struggling go directly to those people. We will also be helping people apply for social services online, similar to TurboTax, so they won't have to worry about snail mail.

Also, it's open source! So anyone can make a pull request and contribute to the site:

At the moment I'm looking for a corporate lawyer to help incorporate and to help with legal in general, as well as 1) empathetic and compassionate people who are great at running non-profits, and 2) a django developer more senior than me, to add to the board of directors at incorporation. I'm not sure how I'd handle donations directly to St. De Paul, except obviously website costs, payroll, and research on how to best serve poor people. If you are interested or know someone interested, please reach out (with your resume and linkedin)! Thanks

As far as contributors and moderators go, I'm looking for contributors who can: 1) add edit history to the wiki, 2) help in writing tests and documentation, 3) add tree structure to comments (comments are almost done), 4) a mobile app 6) "Top Contributors in your area" (if I don't get to this before you all do). If you are interested, join the discord: -- and follow St. De Paul on Instagram:



Here is my linkedin:

P.S. I think the portion in which we help people develop skills for a better job will be great in general. Someone I know personally went from working $10/hr to making $60k/year in a few months after taking a Data Analytics bootcamp, learning Excel and SQL. There are other paths as well.



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LaLaIsBlessed t1_j0ifgql wrote

This is incredible and something I totally need in my life right now, and I’m from PA! Amazing job!!


bluemoss_co OP t1_j0jvwo9 wrote

Thank you, I hope it helps you! Please let me know if you run into issues or need further help


nyleve__ t1_j0ir2h0 wrote

Check out…v similar idea and an app that a lot of the police officers use. As an ER social worker, having tools like this that are well maintained are super helpful.


PencilTucky t1_j0ihsip wrote

This is awesome, well done! Since I don’t use AI/ML in my day to day work, what’s the reasoning for not using it as a technique in your work?


ell0bo t1_j0lf8xs wrote

Are you talking about to gather data?


ctsneak t1_j0jy4v0 wrote

I’m a social worker and this is amazing. Would love your permission to share this with my professional groups. Thank you for your amazing hard work!


AskMoreQuestionsOk t1_j0lketv wrote

Just in case anyone gets on here thinking that this is a new idea or a safe place to donate, I’m going to point you to point people to the actual St Vincent de Paul society website here.

If you think you need services you can find your local chapter- there are 6 in Pennsylvania. Or, you can call the nearest Catholic Church and leave a message and the on call volunteer will get back to you. The society is a national organization run by volunteers who help with anything from keeping your lights on, navigating local social services and housing assistance, to helping those released from prison. They can visit you at your residence or wherever you are. The services available varies by chapter based on local need. You can volunteer or donate using that link knowing that it’s an official charity.


TacoNomad t1_j0js9l0 wrote

You put in your zip code and it links to different organizations. This used to be called aunt bertha


bluemoss_co OP t1_j0jsh9y wrote

I saw that. They’re pretty much doing what I’m trying to do. The difference is that they seem to be a business, while St De Paul is a free and open source project, which will be incorporating as a nonprofit


MitchConner182 t1_j0k96bt wrote

Can’t find services for Lancaster, PA


AskMoreQuestionsOk t1_j0leobj wrote

Are you working with the actual St Vincent de Paul charity? Because they already are an established charity doing such work in PA and nationally. You can donate to them online already and get services by calling your local Catholic Church. If you want to help them, you should volunteer through that organization.

It sounds like you would be diverting money from the actual organization leveraging the name.

Don’t do that. Because it sounds like fraud.


spoookytree t1_j0kmaxa wrote

I didn’t get a chance to read and look over everything yet, but I feel like along with learning Job skills, I’m learning for others and for myself, mental health access is a huge and necessary addition that creates the barriers in the first place. :) sorry if you mentioned this already!


ktp806 t1_j0kslsd wrote

After Katrina many countries donated to the United States. This money was used to create a mega database with similar goals. First It provided resources to bring the residents home. If they had no desire to return the tool was used to locate housing. Utility assistance etc. The program was called Katrina Aid Today.


pm-me-a-good-song t1_j0l25eq wrote

This is great work, and definitely beneficial to the work I personally do. I work for a fairly large non-profit in Pittsburgh and work a lot with unhoused clients. I recently came to this job from over 8 years in disability services and had no idea just how big of an issue homelessness was in this area. This is wonderful work you are doing!

Just a heads up, there is already a pretty large charitable organization called the Society of St. Vincent De Paul, so be careful of name infringement.


njcawfee t1_j0lbfcy wrote

You are an amazing person


spicegrl1 t1_j0ke3bp wrote

Hi, sounds like you are making a new version of May want to check it out, so you're not re-inventing the wheel.


IamSauerKraut t1_j0ijonw wrote

The homeless tend not to be on the internet so how does this assist them?


ahtzib t1_j0ilsfm wrote

It’s 2022. Web accessible phones are widespread and relatively cheap, and many may still have one from when they were in better financial situations. Plus most public libraries offer free computer access.


IamSauerKraut t1_j0jabhj wrote

That assumes things which really are not present among the homeless or poverty-stricken population.


__sweetpea__ t1_j0im5c3 wrote

It’s pretty close to what 211 already is. If people just call that and explain what they need help with 211 has a list of resources for whatever the issue may be.


undercookedchimken t1_j0iobij wrote

there seems to be high oversight for preexisting services of many types on this subreddit


yeags86 t1_j0ikpwh wrote

Reducing poverty tends to reduce homelessness.

And this person is trying to help. If your first thought “how can I make this person seem like an asshole?” - it might be you who is the asshole.


IamSauerKraut t1_j0j9z7l wrote

It does not read that way either in practical terms or in tone.

I am aware of a St. Vincent de Paul, but not a de Paul. It's not a mistake someone who works with that charity would make. The closest charity is in MD, not PA, so may not even be appropriate for this sub.

None of that, of course changes the basic fact that a large segment of the homeless simply do not have the means to have access to the internet. How, pray tell, will they even see this? How then, as the topic header states, will it "significantly reduce homelessness and poverty"? It does not. That's not being an asshole, that's pointing out a basic truth to homelessness and poverty.


TacoNomad t1_j0jsn5u wrote

When you see homeless people, you'll speak to them and find out what help they need. And then you'll use your phone e to find services, and share that information with them.

Libraries still exist.

And a lot of people actually do have phones or access to them.

Not to mention the millions of people that are just one emergency away from being homeless.


IamSauerKraut t1_j0lhlxy wrote

>When you see homeless people, you'll speak to them and find out what help they need.

Based on what I've seen on a couple of other sites, and in person, folks who encounter the homeless are far more likely to tell them to get a job than they are to "find out what help they need." Has been that way for decades.


TacoNomad t1_j0lr3cg wrote

Why not be better?


IamSauerKraut t1_j0ls0yv wrote

Who says I am not?


TacoNomad t1_j0lsdia wrote

You're talking about what other people do. Not what you can do


IamSauerKraut t1_j0n0k7k wrote

Is what I can do the topic? No. Topic is what someone tries to market as something which "significantly reduce homelessness and poverty." I still contend it will not, that it appears suspicious and that it appears unrelated to PA.


TacoNomad t1_j0n1rx0 wrote

Then say that. Rather than.

>the homeless simply do not have the means to have access to the internet


>folks who encounter the homeless are far more likely to tell them to get a job than they are to "find out what help they need."

All of these reasons why not to help. If you think it's a scam, report the post. If you think it's just unhelpful, then share how to help. Just complaining about the issue is not helping anyone.


IamSauerKraut t1_j0oif5l wrote

If you are to quote me, do not selectively quote me.

Not sure where you picked up the "scam" part, but it was not from anything I posted.

Why must so many of you be so obviously dishonest?


TacoNomad t1_j0q4896 wrote

You are childish. I hope you get banned.


pizzaforme123 t1_j0jl8c0 wrote

This is absolutely wrong. I work with people who are homeless and you'd be surprised how many folks are online. Even more surprising is how many still use Facebook!


HeyZuesHChrist t1_j0kri8u wrote

Whenever I see a shitty or just factually incorrect comment in this sub and look at the username half of the time it’s you.


IamSauerKraut t1_j0ls7rt wrote

>factually incorrect comment

You provide nothing factual yet dump your ad hominems. Check yourself, dingus.


HeyZuesHChrist t1_j0nom1b wrote

I think it’s you who needs to check themselves if I know you by username dude.


IamSauerKraut t1_j0oj2x7 wrote

You don't know me. Learn to cope with the opinions of others.