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Your Next: New Jersey County Tracking Homeless With Biometrics

Now with biometrics technology, Bergen County has implemented a solution that helps the DHS keep an accurate count of the homeless people who receive social services. In September, the DHS unveiled a fingerprint identification system developed by Fulcrum Biometrics, a San Antonio-based company. Working with New Jersey Business Systems, the company used its Fulcrum Biometric Framework to develop a Web-based application that links finger image scanners at DHS service sites and a fingerprint-matching algorithm to the existing New Jersey Homeless Management Information System. While Fulcrum’s Web services interface provides automated information exchange between the two systems, both systems operate independently. “They realized that it was really difficult to get accurate metrics — who they’re serving, how many times — without really having to harass homeless people,” said Ken Nosker, president of Fulcrum Biometrics. “We gave them a custom solution that is actually not integrated with the large state database, but communicates with the database.” The data-sharing method reduces “check-in” time to seconds: no sign-in sheets or extensive interviews. DHS workers simply open a Web page and select the service and location. A homeless person comes in, places a finger on the scanner, and the computer captures the data and communicates with the state database to verify the person’s identity.

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