Chicago Innovation Award Winner in: 2019
Winner Category: Collaboration
Industries: Technology, Non-Profit
StreetLight Chicago (SLC), created by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless & Young Invincibles, acts as the “311” for housing-insecure youth and providers in Chicago. It is a trusted resource, seamlessly connecting users to the services young people need for their immediate and long-term health, safety, and housing needs. Prior to SLC’s creation, youth and service providers relied on static lists of resources which quickly became out of date as services changed. Providers also lacked a mechanism for communicating to youth when services changed, relying on clients hearing about service changes through word-of-mouth and social media posts. Too often, this resulted in young people finding out services had changed only after they showed up at a site hoping to receive help. We found from conversations with housing insecure youth that most had access to smartphones (though were unlikely to have data) and needed up-to-date information on the services that are available to young people who needed immediate support. SLC enables the nearly 16,000 unaccompanied young people facing housing insecurity in Chicago to quickly connect to providers who can put young people on a path to stability.