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A collective of shared resources designed to connect libraries and shelters to empower the homeless population.

Brandcenter Project| 4 weeks | Strategy + Service Design | Spec

TLDR

The Ask: 

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.  

The Situation: 

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. 

The Realization:

Despite being ill-equipped, the homeless population see libraries as safe havens. 

Why Libraries? 

The phenomenon of homeless people being drawn to public libraries is nothing new.

They turn to libraries for:

  • Safety

  • Shelter 

  • One of the only places they are allowed to go during the day when the shelters aren’t open

The Opportunity:

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.

Introducing ATLAS: 

 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

The Strategy:

Empower homeless women through equal access to information and resources to achieve a position of stability. 

My Role:

  • Conducted extensive quantitative and qualitative research on homelessness and library resources and changing role

  • Helped to craft the strategy and campaign direction 

  • Helped in crafting executional ideas and program direction and resources

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 

Personal Dashboard:

Library:

Validate patron identities in partnership with shelters, host book loan programs and manage requests

 

Shelter:

Share insights, opening times, building updates, programs


Patron:

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. 

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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. 

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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. 

Resource Fliers:

ATLAS brochures, ID card guides, reading lists

Information Keyring:

ATLAS contact info, social worker organizations, local charities, government information. services

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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

Job Workshops

Resumes, job hunt, soft skills, interview preparation

Patron-Led Talks:

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

Political

Agendas

Legality

Funding &

Resources

City

& State Discrepancies

Training

Willingness to Commit

Degree of Motivation

Customer Journey

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Team:

Marissa Liu: Experience Designer 

Gaby Olivera: Experience Designer

Cat Marsh: Strategist

Marnie Abraham: Strategist