Fingerprinting Helps Homeless Shelters Provide Faster Service

New Jersey is expanding a local program that helps human services agencies get a more accurate picture of where and when aid is most needed.
by | March 6, 2013 AT 3:00 PM

Correctly measuring the demand for and the effectiveness of services for the homeless can be a tricky, time-consuming task for local governments. To make it easier, New Jersey is expanding a local program, which began in Bergen County, that uses fingerprints to monitor users of meal programs and shelters, reports CivSource

When clients enter a shelter for the first time, they'll be enrolled in a biometrics data management system, which allows them to get services on subsequent visits with a simple swipe of their finger. To help put clients at ease about the technology, the human services agency won't check the system against any police or criminal databases. That, in combination with the faster access users have to services, has resulted in minimal pushback from individuals using the system. The program has been used in Bergen County since 2010 and because of its success in establishing a more accurate picture of when and where services are needed, it will be rolled out in other locations around the state in the coming months.