December , 2018

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With a fully redesigned site and a host of convenience features, mRelief integrates with centers in the north and west side extending it’s reach to more Chicagoans living in poverty.

CHICAGO, IL – mRelief will launch in community service centers, sites that administer public assistance and economic mobility in Chicago, in Garfield and North Area. The app refers eligible users to online and in-person application assistance and ineligible users to their nearest community resources provided by Purple Binder. The city’s integration with mRelief’s modernized web-based tools reduced eligibility determination time by 75 percent and now the nonprofit organization is scaling its reach.

mRelief’s online eligibility screener which calculates eligibility for 12 safety net programs in food, transportation, housing, health, and child welfare first launched in partnership with the City at the King Community Service Center, located in the Bronzeville neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, on October 9, 2014. In 2015, over 1100 clients have been screened using mRelief at the King Center alone.

“We are really excited to provide a new interface that caters to making eligibility determination even more convenient for people already burdened with the stressful circumstance of poverty,” says co-founder Rose Afriyie.

mRelief’s site attracts low income Chicagoans who sustain their households on $1,321 on average a month. The site’s expansion to the center near Garfield is particularly important as census data showed that 39.7 percent of households in East Garfield Park were below the poverty level. Additionally, 22.7 percent of households in the Uptown community surrounding the North Area community service center is below the poverty level.

With the help of a grant from the Smart Chicago Collaborative’s Civic Works Project, which is funded by the Knight Foundation, the team re-envisioned the entire user experience and design of the site. Marina Goldshteyn, mRelief Product Designer and former designer for healthcare giant Humana, led the design effort and Genevieve Nielsen, mRelief CTO, executed backend development of the site redesign. The efforts resulted in mRelief’s new design which is chock full of features that make it easier for the user at each phase of eligibility determination.

Users can now start screening for eligibility on the very first page. When starting with the “All Programs At Once,” option on the homepage, users can utilize a calculator for income math. In addition, mRelief now stores inputs so users never need to retype unchanging information as they navigate between forms. As an additional boost, popovers explaining income specifications and other requirements in detail are hidden unless users are entering their information into the pertinent fields. Finally, eligibility results pages for food stamps and rental assistance now link to documents needed for the interview so users can arrive prepared and save even more time.

The mRelief team is comprised of all-women software developers who work out of 1871 in The Merchandise Mart.

mRelief is modernizing public benefits through web tools and an unprecedented use of text messaging in social services that empowers people with whether they qualify and tells all users their best next step. For more information and to view the redesigned site, visit mRelief at www.mrelief.com

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