The City of Jerusalem is home to some 28,000 youth-at-risk, with levels of risk running the gamut from teens who demonstrate at-risk behaviors but who live at home and go to school to drug-addicted teens with mental health issues living on the streets and lacking the fulfillment of their basic needs.
Three municipal administrations and dozens of NGOs are involved in the care for and treatment of youth-at-risk in Jerusalem, each with its own definitions and parameters, hence the lack of unified statistics, and specializing in a particular area or areas of activity. Mayor Nir Barkat identified this issue as a major challenge for the city and, at the time of its inception in 2015, tapped the JLM i-team to create a unified framework, based on in-depth research and evaluation, population and organization mapping, cooperation between the city and NGOs, and most importantly, a common goal: the welfare of Jerusalem’s youth.
“When the Jerusalem i-team first began their work in our city, I knew immediately that I wanted them to focus on our city's youth-at-risk. I have no doubt that the results of the i-team's work in this area will have a great impact and will save lives in our city.”
– Mayor Nir Barkat
The central initiative in this field is the creation of a new model and unified approach for helping the thousands of at-risk youth in the city via working partnerships between municipal administrations, government programs and dozens of active NGOs.
The pilot, which focused exclusively on homelessness, identified 192 homeless youth and created a cooperative framework in which a single case manager is assigned to each of them to ensure prompt and full treatment. Additionally, strategic and field teams were set up to coordinate efforts between stakeholders, two youth shelters are in the process of construction and a program dedicated to helping homeless youth find employment and/or vocational training is currently in the works.
Following the success of the homeless youth pilot, the new youth-at-risk model began implementation at the individual neighborhood level. Jerusalem is a city very much defined by its neighborhoods, each with its own character and pertaining to one of the three sectors (general, ultra-Orthodox, Arab).
The principal initiative implementing the i-team’s research and new framework is the neighborhood roundtable model, which is currently completing its pilot in the ultra-Orthodox Bukharan neighborhood in northern Jerusalem. There the i-team brought together all of the public bodies and organizations in the area that come into contact with youth-at-risk, including municipal services, NGOs, and government representatives, in order to pool information, generate usable statistics and come up with a unified neighborhood plan. The Bukharan neighborhood roundtable, numbering some forty participants, has, thus far, completed the population and program mapping stage, and set up four field teams. Having been determined successful, the Bukharan neighborhood pilot is now being replicated in six additional ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods.
A crucial need that arose immediately from the field was the lack of information about available programs and their target populations. To that end, the JLM i-team worked to map youth-at-risk programs throughout the city, starting by creating common parameters for the programs' focus: age, gender, neighborhood, program funder, place on the risk spectrum, areas of treatment, population sector and budget, to name some.
After months of work, approximately 300 programs were discovered to be active throughout the city. Applicable insights from the data amassed soon followed. For example, programs active in the Arab sector in East Jerusalem and in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods were almost exclusively focused on boys, with very few programs available to help girls. This gap in programming could clearly be resolved by a data-driven reallocation of current budgets or dedication of future budgets, if relevant stakeholders had this data at their fingertips. However, at the end of the mapping process, the JLM i-team ended up with a mass of data, difficult and tiresome to navigate for the average city decision-maker.
The i-team chose to turn to the field of business intelligence – Microsoft’s Power BI - in order to create an intuitive visualization tool, easy-to-use, containing a mix of easily manipulable and shareable graphs, tables and pies. The results were eye opening for city stakeholders and decision-makers now know how to make optimal use of the data.