Berkeley students come up with innovative solutions to homelessness and housing

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- In our efforts to build a better Bay Area, we met with three UC Berkeley students who are coming up with solutions to local complex problems.

"Since we are not connected to anything we can see something bigger," said UC Berkeley student Andre Mangulabnan.

The new outside the box and outside the classroom course is called "Hacking 4 local."

Over the course of 11 weeks, 18 students worked on solutions to problems including amplifying the voices of the homeless community, equitable development, healthcare in south Berkeley, improving transportation and wildfire management.

"What I saw was a gap. An opportunity to really bridge connections between people that so far in our society are looked at as opposites," said UC Berkeley student Lucas Duffy.

Duffy created a podcast to tell the stories of the homeless community with a call to action.

"Platform for direct action so that listeners of our podcast can go through their daily lives but also engage with these issues in a way they wouldn't have otherwise. That can include; signing a petition or donating money to an organization working on these issues," said Duffy.

Surabhi Yadav wants to create an app where Oakland resident will be notified before a new development project is built.

"While the city and housing developments are trying to address this issue. It's not going to happen without engaging with the community," said Yadav.

Andre Mangulabnan wants people to feel comfortable in health care spaces.

"To create a series of workshops in which people would identify problems they would have and then they would be grouped together and we would mentor them," said Mangulabman.

The brain behind this operation is a former Berkeley student.

"These students have the passion and energy to make a change. They are living among these problems and they are dreamers," said UC Berkeley instructor Rachel Dzombak.

The Hacking 4 Local course is set to continue next semester.

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