Connect empowers homeless individuals with on-demand information and resources through conveniently placed physical kiosks in the greater Seattle area.
Our Problem Focus: Needs of Homeless Individuals
We initially believed that COVID-19 was having a serious impact on the homeless community, but after some preliminary research, we found that COVID-19 and the pandemic at large were the least of their worries. We shifted our focus to the most important and immediate needs. There were two meaningful insights that we discovered through our research.
Insight: Access to Information
First, we discovered that the homeless community was in need of access to basic services, but what they lacked was access to information. Just having information available to them opened up opportunities to a much larger number of homeless individuals. Finding information that can help them navigate the system, deal with their current ordeals, and find ways out of their current situation is hard to come by and hard to understand. It’s also difficult to get connected with a social worker or a caseworker which makes it even more difficult to access this information.
The second insight was needing to continually consider the dignity of the individuals we are serving. Homeless people have hit rock bottom, and we needed to build a product that both protected that dignity and elevates it. Everything from the name of the app to making sure that information was accurate, so to prevent them from having to ask for additional help as they navigated to a new shelter or place to eat.
For our project, we identified two main personas; Tommy and Alison.
Tommy is a single middle aged man looking for help in accessing nearby resources and most needed information that can easily enable him to get help. The second persona is Alison. Alison represents the stakeholder who works hard to make sure homeless individuals have
support and easy access to resources.