Shelter House wins Rep. Mikie Sherrill’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in New Jersey’s 11th District

Rep. Mikie Sherrill has named Ishan Sinha, an 11th Grader at Wayne Hills High School, as the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in New Jersey’s 11th District.

When asked what inspired the creation of Shelter House, the student said, ”I was inspired to create this app when I was volunteering at one of EKAM USA’s projects to help local New Jersey communities feed the needy during a food drive for the homeless. While making meals for our community’s homeless, I started thinking about how people became homeless in the first place. What could I do to help? After much research, I learned of the functional zero homelessness Bergen County had achieved, which is twenty minutes from where I live in Wayne, New Jersey. This is where I got the idea of connecting my community in order to solve homelessness, and when I could truly see the potential of awareness in solving homelessness . As a result, I visited several homeless shelters in and around my area. I began by asking questions about what causes homelessness and interviewing local homeless shelter directors, city council members, and community business leaders to learn what was being done. Recognizing that raising awareness about homelessness is the first step toward ending it, I started recording these talks so that I could share what I learned with others in our community. Once these videos were created, I began looking into ways to further help the homeless. I realized that it can be difficult to find and reach the various homeless shelters in New Jersey, which gave me the idea for this app. As a result, I began designing the app, with the primary goal of helping the homeless in any way possible.”

The Congressional App Challenge smashed previous participation records in 2022. All told, 9,011 students registered for this year’s competition – creating 2,707 fully-functioning apps for 335 Members of Congress across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia. This year’s competition set the record for most student registrations, most apps submitted, most apps per district submitted, and most districts receiving over 20 apps. The wildly successful competition continues to impress upon House Members the importance of computer science education and the need to develop a pipeline of diverse, domestic STEM talent.

The Congressional App Challenge is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival. The program is a public-private partnership made possible through funding from Omidyar Network, AWS, Rise, theCoderSchool, Apple, and others.

The 2023 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June of 2023, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.