A collective of shared resources designed to connect libraries and shelters to empower the homeless population.
To design a service or improve an existing service. We wanted to focus on the homeless community, particularly homeless women, a group that is severely overlooked in society.
The homeless crisis is real and it’s happening everywhere, everyday.
There are over 550,000 people in the United States experiencing homelessness on any given day...women comprise a little under 40% of that population.
Women and families are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, with 85% of homeless families headed by single women.
Public libraries isn't properly equipped to serve the homeless population and patrons in the city.
This has forced librarians to become makeshift social workers and first responders to the homeless.
Despite being ill-equipped, the homeless population see libraries as safe havens.
The phenomenon of homeless people being drawn to public libraries is nothing new.
They turn to libraries for:
One of the only places they are allowed to go during the day when the shelters aren’t open
A chance to come together as a community for the better of humanity and its people.
Homelessness doesn’t discriminate and access to information and resources shouldn’t either.
Access to information allows for equal opportunities and is a right that every American should have.
Empower homeless women through equal access to information and resources to achieve a position of stability.
ATLAS at its core is an aggregator, bringing the expertise and knowledge of all three parties: the homeless, libraries and shelters together through digital and physical spaces, and programs
Part 1: Digital Resources
An internal shared database that digitizes the rosters of shelters and makes them accessible in a safe and secure platform for libraries to be able to cross-check patrons if they come in without the needed ID
Connecting Patron, Library, and Shelter:
One-stop shop highlighting key library and shelter resources
Shared internal database and roster between libraries and shelters
Validate patron identities in partnership with shelters, host book loan programs and manage requests
Share insights, opening times, building updates, programs
Book wish list, favorite shelters, track reading progress
Recommended Reading Lists:
Curated book recommendations on topics like eviction, stress support, mental health, wellness, financial health, pursuing higher education, and parenting.
Also general recommendations for kids based on public school reading lists.
Find Your Local Shelter:
Up-to-date information on all open local shelters in the area, and most importantly provides a “Check-In” countdown for each shelter.
Also provides the number for the Homeless Crisis Line in each city.
Part 2: Physical Resources
Provides librarians and the homeless patrons a much more pleasant and beneficial exchange. Most of the patrons questions about researching resources can be found on fliers and information key rings - such as social workers, organizations, local charities, government services, and more.
ATLAS brochures, ID card guides, reading lists
ATLAS contact info, social worker organizations, local charities, government information. services
Part 3: Programmatic Resources
At the end of the day, Atlas promotes shared humanity, hope, and opportunity, and so the last leg of our solution is based in programs designed to give homeless women a voice and platform
Resumes, job hunt, soft skills, interview preparation
Discussion boards with patrons, open and safe dialogue exchange
Patron Book Clubs:
Tailored reading for patron interests and pain points.
Book Lending Program:
Selected donation/lending program to shelters for community readings.
Roll Out Plan
Year 2 - 3
Year 1 - 2
Year 3 - 5
Introduce Pilot Program in partnership with charities and organizations like the Richmond Public Library, Salvation Army, and Caritas to incorporate feedback and iterations.
Take to the city level to pitch for larger implementation and hopefully have the whole city of Richmond implementing this.
Target county libraries around smaller cities and then the go to larger cities.
Barriers to Entry
& State Discrepancies
Willingness to Commit
Degree of Motivation
Marissa Liu: Experience Designer
Gaby Olivera: Experience Designer
Marnie Abraham: Strategist