Community digital events

We have started to think about what events might look like where we create a digital community around a project for the city, in this case for Hackathons get a great buzz, but often its hard for the ideas that come up to turn into sustainable projects as everyone goes back into busy lives. We are wondering if instead its a regular meetup that works on features already requested by the users (in this case people experiencing homelessness and frontline organisations), then it might be more sustainable and have greater impact.
We have seen this done in the us with disaster relief projects, has anyone done something similar here we could learn from?
Currently we spend a lot effort trying to get funding to pay for freelancers, but what if the community could come together to do the work instead, create new connections, collaborate, feel we are doing something together? Could it work?

You might try getting in touch with your local freeCodeCamp group. The curriculum focuses on completing non-profit projects.

You get the services you need and the students can add the work to their portfolio.

It’s also worth collaborating with local universities. There may be IT students looking for summer internship opportunities as well as projects to complete as part of their course work.