We mentioned the KatrinaHome.com website the other day -- it's a site designed to match people with available space with evacuees from the hurricane zone. This is exactly the kind of offering for which the web is ideally-suited: a bottom-up provision of assistance to strangers, mediated by decentralized networks. It's such a good idea that MoveOn.org started Hurricanehousing.com, providing similar connections, the very next day!
But KatrinaHome founder Rod Edwards (who also runs WorldChanging ally SustainabilityZone.com) has taken the site to a new level, and has done something very, very smart: KatrinaHome.com now has a WAP interface for access via cellular phones. (WAP, or Wireless Access Protocol, allows for simplified web pages to be sent over standard cellular networks.)
wap.katrinahome.com/index.wml allows people with mobile phone connections but no computer -- almost certainly a not-insubstantial number of the evacuees -- the ability to access the housing database. Although some advanced mobile phones can run full-blown web browsers, a far larger number are limited to WAP-based sites. By making Katrinahome.com available over WAP, Rod has dramatically expanded the number of people who could take advantage of the match-making service.
This is something worth talking about more widely, and if you're running a weblog or mailing list -- or even just conversing with your circle of friends about the hurricane aftermath -- consider giving it a link.
(Edit: And, as David says in the comments, thank you, Rod. This is truly wonderful work on your part.)
There's also this one:
Rod, I hope you read this. I've noticed your postings to this site before, but didn't realize that you were doing this kind of work. I'm impressed and grateful. You doing something very valuable, and I'm glad to know you're out there in the world. Thanks.
It's wonderful to see the response to this wonderful website. Is there any way to put a "counter" on the page to show what states the people that have taken offers are going? I think it would be interesting to see where people want to go (ie New York, Florida, California?)
Help is also needed to collect & donate thousands of cell phones(including Trac or Virgin Mobil etc.) Please help with this.
PS: Another muti-state site to add for both hosting & assisting in placing hurricane victims is available at: http://www.minnesotahelpers.com
We have listing by state. Would like to share the info we have with others larger sites :) contact email@example.com
URL - sorry