Men’s Shelter of Charlotte (MSC) requests support for a new incentive-based motivational system for men journeying out of homelessness. Consider the situation of our guest Byron. Now sixty years old, Byron has had health problems ever since he was shot in the back as a young man. His problems are not quite enough to earn disability benefits—for, in theory at least, he can still work. But they are severe enough to make employers think twice before hiring him, especially at his age. And they are enough to leave him with crippling medical bills. When Byron showed up at MSC last month, he was unemployed, in debt, and had been living out of his car for several months.
To achieve stable housing, Byron will need to stay engaged in our social services. To find housing, Byron will first need stable income. To assist guests with finding employment, MSC offers on- and off-site job fairs as well as a Housing and Employment Resource Center, where volunteers assist guests with applications. Once he is stably employed, Byron will work with our housing specialists to identify an apartment. He will need to obtain his photo ID, Social Security Card, recent pay stubs, and a list of former landlords. He will also need to pay off an eviction and get on a payment plan for his medical debt. Overwhelmed by the process, many of our guests struggle to stay motivated.
Our proposed project will break up the long journey from homelessness to housing into a series of intermediate steps with immediate rewards. In this system, guests will log into centralized interactive stations, where they will be presented with an individualized set of housing-related tasks. By completing tasks, guests earn points, which they can cash in for rewards, such as bus passes, gift cards, and clothing. Our system will incentivize the small steps that, for guests like Byron, lead the way home.
In addition, while guests are at Men’s Shelter there is the opportunity to complete various chores around the facility. The ideal system will also allow guests to earn points for completing various chores such as laundry or cleaning the kitchen after meals.
The scope of the project will include:
- Documentation and prioritization of system requirements
- The scope marketplace research to determine software tools available that meet requirements
- Set up and facilitation of demos by software vendors
- Advising on best solution to implement
Nonprofit Agency Overview
Men's Shelter of Charlotte’s mission is to provide safe emergency shelter while working to end homelessness for each man. The vision is to serve as a catalyst for systemic change to end homelessness in the community. Men’s Shelter of Charlotte’s accomplishes its mission through the Moving Forward, Moving Home program, summarized with the equation: Income + Housing + Support = An End to Homelessness.