Last week marked the launch of mRelief, a site that simplifies the social service qualifying process with an easy-to-use form that can be accessed online and through SMS. Residents can check to see if they’re eligible for a variety of programs including food stamps, medicaid, WIC, and more. Here’s the press release by mRelief creators on day of launch.
mRelief is made by an all-woman team hailing from different backgrounds and walks of life dedicated to making an impact with technology. Smart Chicago has supported mRelief under our CivicWorks Project funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
mRelief is already deployed at the Martin Luther King Jr Community Services Center. The Community Service Centers are run by the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services. DFSS Community Service Centers help individuals and families in need access a wide range of resources from shelter, food and clothing to domestic violence assistance, job training/placement and services for the formerly incarcerated. Staff members are using mRelief to help streamline the process of evaluating their eligibility. The mRelief team has also partnered with Purple Binder to refer residents to other useful local resources if they are ineligible for public assistance.
How mRelief Works
mRelief works by having users fill out a quick form to see if the user is eligible. If the users eligible, they’re then connected to that office. If the user isn’t eligible, the system will try to find alternative programs using Purple Binder.
mRelief will continue to work with Smart Chicago post launch to conduct user testing and enable SMS messaging for the site so that those without access to a computer can take advantage of the site.
About the team
The team are alumni of the Starter League a successful coding school in Chicago. Project Manager Rose Afriyie is a former Googler and White House intern and holds an MPP from the University of Michigan. Chief Technology Officer Genevieve Nielsen was 2014 valedictorian of Davidson College and graduated with an economics degree. She has successfully launched freefoodfinder.co. Lead designer Marina Goldshteyn,was the lead designer on healthcare website https://www.humana.com/ and also designed http://jerrygarcia.com.
You can find out more about mRelief at tonight’s OpenGov Hack Night, which will be livestreamed by Smart Chicago consultant and Code for America brigade captain Christopher Whitatker