One-Stop Shop For Social Services Makes Benefits More Accessible
Single Stop USA is creating software that will help people conduct self-screenings to check the programs and resources they are eligible for.
To make it easier for citizens to access government programs non-profit organization Single Stop USA is building a client-facing online platform that will let people screen themselves for resources like Medicaid, food stamps, student financial aid, and more.
Single Stop USA spun off from New York poverty-fighting organization Robin Hood Foundation in 2007. Single Stop helps connect people with social benefits available to them, as well as help them with the application process. Since its inception, the organization has served over 886,000 households and it hopes to reach a million more low-income Americans by the end of this year with its new online platform.
The organization’s new online platform will allow people to do an online search to apply for benefits and resources. At the moment, Single Stop staff meet with their clients in person to get their information and requirements, inform them of the programs and resources they can get, then help them with the submission process. With this new platform, clients don’t have to visit any of the organization’s 113 sites unless they want to, or if they need extra help.
In a press release, Elizabeth Mason, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Single Stop, describes the new platform as similar to one-stop shopping resources like Amazon. She says,
We are at an inflection point in our country. As jobs continue to move towards a knowledge-based economy, it is increasingly important that all students have the opportunity to attain the skills needed to enter and thrive in the workforce. If we don’t do a better job of connecting students with the resources that already exist, we are putting ourselves in danger of leaving an entire generation behind. We cannot close the door on the American Dream for millions of young people.
In a way, the online platform will be similar to resources like Amazon. Clients answer a few questions about their personal information and tick off the kinds of benefits they are interested in, and are then provided with an estimate of what they can receive each year. Clients are also provided with the contact information of providers, which they can contact through Single Stop.
Single Stop is focusing on their community college initiative for the pilot of the new platform. The organization is already partnering with the Association of Community College Trustees and institutions like the Miami-Dade Community College for the program and is working with funding from several foundations such as The Robin Hood Foundation, The Baton Rouge Area Foundation, The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation and The Kresge Foundation. Keep an eye out on their site for when the service launches.