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Downtown Emergency Service Center Releases CHASERS, Free Software for Homeless Service Management and Beyond

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 General News J E 4
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SEATTLE, Sept. 30 Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) is pleased to release its CHASERS application as open source software. DESC uses CHASERS to store and manage information about clients, services and agency operations.



Created by DESC, CHASERS is both proven and a work-in-progress, and has been under in-house development for approximately five years. During this time, CHASERS has been in continuous use, and now contains information on over 70,000 clients served by DESC. Key features include web-based access, client and staff management, reporting, permission and access control, electronic logs, collaborative caseloads and real-time notifications.



"CHASERS has become an integral tool in DESC's ongoing work to serve the sickest and most vulnerable homeless people in our community," said Executive Director Bill Hobson. "We are pleased to release this software to the community, and hope it will become useful for other organizations as well."



As used at DESC, CHASERS is built entirely on Free and Open Source Software. In this configuration, there are no software or licensing fees involved, allowing CHASERS to be used to its maximum potential. One such advantage is that every staff member has an account, without additional cost.



"DESC has benefitted greatly from the use of Free and Open Source Software, and from assistance from free software communities," noted Ken Tanzer, DESC's Director of Information Services. "I'm very happy that DESC is in turn contributing to the pool of free software. At the same time, other organizations have expressed interest in CHASERS. With this release, these organizations can begin determining whether CHASERS can provide value to their operations."



CHASERS was designed for flexibility and adaptability, and modified versions are used for fundraising and volunteer management, and to manage data for a research project conducted in cooperation with the University of Washington's Addictive Behaviors Research Center and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. A demonstration version is available online.



ABOUT DOWNTOWN EMERGENCY SERVICE CENTER

DESC is the most comprehensive provider of services and housing for chronically homeless adults in Seattle and King County, and has received numerous national and local awards. DESC's services include shelter, housing, mental healthcare, addiction treatment, and employment services. Last year, DESC served over 6,700 individuals and moved 605 men and women off the streets into permanent supportive housing. DESC currently provides 650 units of housing, with another 130 units in development. Increasingly, housing development is at the center of DESC's mission "to end the homelessness of vulnerable adults."



INTENDED AUDIENCE AND FUTURE GOALS



At this stage, CHASERS will be of interest primarily to organizations with at least some level of technical expertise. DESC is interested in collaborating with other entities in the service delivery, funding and technical support communities to continue to expand the functionality of CHASERS, create documentation and increase the ease of installation, configuration and maintenance.



DISCLAIMER



CHASERS is provided entirely as-is, and DESC makes no representation regarding the usability or fitness of the software for any particular purpose. Entities that choose to use CHASERS do so entirely at their own risk, and DESC will under no circumstances be liable for any damages or consequences, direct or indirect, in connection with such use.



FURTHER INFORMATION



For further information about CHASERS, contact:



Kenneth Tanzer

Director of Information Services

Downtown Emergency Service Center

515 Third Avenue

Seattle, WA 98104

(206) 515-1519

ktanzer@desc.org

chasers.desc.org



For further information about DESC, contact:



Nicole Macri

Director of Administration

Downtown Emergency Service Center

515 Third Avenue

Seattle, WA 98104

(206) 515-1514

nmacri@desc.org

www.desc.org





SOURCE Downtown Emergency Service Center
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