Eradicate Homelessness in Richmond,VA

 

Collaborative Team: Mikaila Weaver, Pete Davies, & myself. 

My role entailed research, art direction, experience design, and website development.

 

 

The ask:

Create an interactive experience to eradicate homelessness in Richmond, Virginia. 

Research:

A variety of research methodologies informed our design process; we used a combination of empirical, primary, and secondary research to help provide a complete picture of homelessness nationally and the city of Richmond. Ultimately, the research definite our design choices and concept. 

Primary Research

Interviews were conducted with people of all types of backgrounds from social services to landlords. 

 

The following people were interviewed:

Alyssa Bickford :: Social work master's candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University

Tom Bannard :: Shelter Operations Manager for CARITAS (1)

Erika Schmale :: Homeward's Regional Coalition Manager (2)

Garrett Lyon :: Richmond,VA landlord

& A few other landlords that wished to be anonymous. 

1. CARITAS provides effective, permanent solutions to individuals and families dealing with the crisis of homelessness and/or addiction in the Metro Richmond area.

2. Homeward is the planning and coordinating organization for homeless services in the greater Richmond region.

Secondary Research

 

 

 

1. Watched documentaries and read scholarly articles and case studies.

2. Evaluated solution strategies across in the United States attempting to eradicate homelessness

3. Researched how other cities were eradicating homelessness with the use of technology

The Solution Already Existed

It became clear that the solution to end homelessness was homes before jobs (a.k.a rapid rehousing). 

Rapid rehousing wasn't new.

It was being implemented and successful.

Except there was a problem.

There weren't enough landlords who were part of the solution; therefore there weren't enough homes. 

And that didn't make sense to us because according to the city's database there were over 11,000 vacant rental properties and less than 900 documented homeless people.

More importantly Rapid rehousing had a proven 97% success rate.

Vacant rental properties outnumbered the total number of homeless people in Richmond.

Websites already existed for rapid rehousing and landlords.

However, we needed to increase the number of landlords involved. 

The Solution

 

 

Is an awareness campaign that:

1. Empowered the community with information to end homelessness.

2. Simplified the process for landlords to take part in rapid rehousing.

3. Made it easy to share the solution socially.

 

Simple, Digestible Content

novacancyrva.com

 

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Before NoVacancyRVA.com, there wasn't a clear point of contact for landlords interested in rapid rehousing. 

On the website, interested parties complete a simple form directed to Homeward via email. 

Sharing Socially

It was important for us to make sure that all members of the community could be a part of the solution -even if it was indirect.

 

At first, this was a master's degree student project at VCU Brandcenter.

It was meant to be theoretical. 

We felt a personal obligation to give back to the community and go beyond the assignment's ask.

So, we executed our solution.

As of now, Richmond's Homeward is using NoVacancyRVA.com. 

We are grateful to have been a part of their mission. 

 

2. Wireframes

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3. User Testing

A 135+ page pdf document containing the entire research and design process for NoVacancyRVA is available upon request.

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