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Winners Of Congressional App Challenge Announced

U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) recently announced Haiying Zeng and Divya Katyal of Elizabeth Ustach Middle School in Modesto as the California 10th District winners of the Congressional App Challenge for their app “Homeless Network.”

Eighth graders Zeng and Katyal designed the app “Homeless Network” as a platform to pinpoint areas where help is needed the most through crowdsourcing. The app allows members of a community to place a dot on a map specifying an area of need. This then allows service providers and other citizens to more easily provide aid and relief to homeless by visiting marked areas. Their app will be featured on the U.S. House of Representatives’ website ( and displayed in a U.S. Capitol exhibit.

“I admire these young students’ attention to issues in our community and their desire to serve those less fortunate,” said Denham. “Homelessness is a serious issue, and here in the Central Valley we see far too much of it.”

In November, Denham sent a letter signed by 78 members of Congress to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations requesting a fix for expiring Transition Living Program (TLP) and Maternity Group Home (MGH) grants to prevent a funding gap that would harm homeless and runaway youth programs in communities nationwide, including the Center for Human Services shelter in Modesto.

The Congressional App Challenge, now on its third year, is a nationwide student coding competition hosted by members of the U.S. House of Representatives. It offers the chance for students to code their own original applications, or “apps,” for mobile, tablet or computer devices on a platform of their choosing. Submissions are judged by a panel of local judges who work in the academic, software and entrepreneurial fields.


Since 2013 the CAC has given students the opportunity to further their education in STEM, coding and computer science through direct, hands-on experience. In the previous two years combined, the CAC has reached nearly 4,000 students across 30 states. For more information on the challenge, visit