Treating Guests with Empathy and Respect, How Salesforce Supports Better Client Care at Urban Alchemy

Urban Alchemy: Treating Guests with Empathy and Respect

Urban Alchemy, headquartered in San Francisco, is a social enterprise that engages with situations where extreme poverty meets homelessness, mental illness and addiction. They are a supporting presence in neighborhoods that invites communities to rebuild in urban spaces. Urban Alchemy aims to save the lives of people who live on the streets. 

Their guests live in safe sleep sites and villages, as well as traditional shelters, where Urban Alchemy provides them with their own beds and a secure place to store their belongings. The objective is to give guests a sense of independence and ownership so they feel like part of a community.

To serve their guests more effectively and efficiently, Urban Alchemy needed a case management system. Provisio is partnering with them to implement Salesforce’s Nonprofit Cloud solution: they are starting in Austin, TX and will implement the same solution in Culver City CA; Portland, OR; Los Angeles, CA  and San Francisco, CA. 

Improved Visibility is Essential

Urban Alchemy, like many nonprofits, completes intakes on paper when they enroll new guests. This can be problematic because only that case worker learns about the guest and hears their story. If anyone else wants to learn about the guest, they have to find the binder where the intake details are stored.

With their implementation of the Salesforce platform, they can collect the same information on a tablet, get all the digital signatures they need, and create a record for that guest. Better record sharing means that each guest’s story and needs will be visible to anyone who needs access. For example, food service workers can see allergies flagged in the database. They no longer have to find someone’s binder to ascertain important health information. 

Bed Visualization Tool 

Provisio has developed several cause-area solutions, among them is a bed visualization tool designed for housing nonprofits. Urban Alchemy needed an easier way to identify who is in what room or tent. Provisio’s bed visualization tool provides a map of the rooms’ layouts, the beds in each one, and who is in which bed. There are validation rules in place so that two people are only assigned to the same room or tent if they are a couple. If there is a single person, the second bed will be blocked. Staff can also flag certain beds as ADA-compliant to ensure accessibility needs are met. 

Efficient Bed Check-Ins

Nightly bed check-ins are an important responsibility for staff to verify the safety and location of each guest. Until now, this process was a challenging, manual one. Through Salesforce, they will be able to easily track who has returned to their rooms. If a guest does not return to their room within 48 hours, an alert will go out. A second one will go out after 72 hours. Again, this will help to keep guests and the community safe. 

Providing A Sense of Security to Guests

Not only are guests assigned an individual room; each guest is assigned a bin and a lock to store their possessions. The bin number is on their program enrollment in Salesforce, so staff can quickly look up the number if they need to verify which bin belongs to which guest. Guests can feel confident their possessions are secure and easy to access.

Salesforce also simplifies tracking information vital to the health of the community. Each guest must be tested for tuberculosis upon enrollment. If there is not a recorded TB test within seven days of enrollment, staff will receive an alert.  All testing dates will be tracked in Salesforce.  COVID start and end dates can also be tracked for quarantine purposes. 

Our goal is to treat our guests with respect and empathy, but we also want to make our services as effective as possible. This new tool from Provisio will help us stay organized and enable us to spend more time on what matters most: helping our neighbors find shelter and permanent housing.  

Michael Anderer, Chief Systems Engineer

The Power of a CRM

Urban Alchemy is transitioning from doing traditional case management in Excel files and on paper to one system of record: a flexible, user-friendly platform that will scale as they expand their services to urban areas across the country. Intakes, referrals, and assessments will all be completed in Salesforce resulting in dramatic efficiency improvements and the ability to report their services more easily to stakeholders. Most importantly, Urban Alchemy will be able to better serve their guests with the dignity and compassion they deserve.

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