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January 16th, 2018 · 9:00 AM

Contact: Rose Afriyie, Executive Director, mRelief

rose@mrelief.com

mRelief launches End-to-End Mobile Tool to Enroll Californians in CalFresh

The tool is the latest effort underway to stem student hunger amid recent reports that 48 percent of students are food insecure.

Launching on UC Davis Campus in Yolo County, eligible CalFresh applicants can now schedule, submit documents and retrieve benefits via mobile devices.

Davis, CA - mRelief’s easy-to-use web and text messaging platform, launched in partnership with the California Department of Social Services in February 2017 helps low-income Americans find out if they qualify for food stamps. Today they launch an end-to-end process which is being utilized to address the barriers eligible users face securing CalFresh benefits. After low-income families discover eligibility, they can now use a mobile-responsive platform to apply, schedule an interview and submit necessary verifications for CalFresh benefits – the three required steps to receive food benefits.

“This is so easy,” posted Glenda Ross, a CalFresh applicant who was recently approved and used the tool to navigate the process. Ross went on to say, “No standing in line for hours just to see a worker. Interview conducted over phone and approved the same day. This is extremely efficient and hassle free. Modern technology at its best.”

Video Demo.

After submitting an application for CalFresh benefits, applicants must complete a required interview. The mRelief tool has an adaptive SMS (text messaging) flow to facilitate the applicant’s preferred experience. Via the mRelief platform, applicants can receive reminders, text required documents ahead of their interview and receive updates on delays and outstanding documents. In initial testing of the tool, more than 70 percent went on to attend the required interview.

“We started this work providing information to clients on whether they met the basic requirements,” said Rose Afriyie executive director of mRelief. “Now, in partnership with government, we have built a platform that helps clients apply, share times to complete application requirements so interviews don’t conflict with work or school, and know at each step what is outstanding to enroll.”

The pervasiveness of student hunger underscored the need for this technology on local campuses. A 2016 report by Students Against Hunger showed that 48 percent of students were food insecure in the past 30 days. In September 2016, AB 1747 was signed into law in California requiring campus eateries to register to accept purchases under CalFresh. “We are really excited to partner with mRelief to leverage SMS and its power to help serve students in need, and the overall community, ” said Nolan Sullivan, Yolo County Health & Human Services Agency, service center branch director.

Student Outreach Campaign.

The process has been made possible by collaborations with County employees to ensure that optimizations to CalFresh enrollment are consistent with existing business processes and do not involve extensive manual work by case workers. Overall, the application tool eliminates manual follow-up that is currently done to facilitate scheduling and long term case management that requires in-person help.

About Yolo County Health & Human Services Agency

Yolo County Health & Human Services Agency promotes a healthy, safe and economically stable community. Their values are: collaborative – promoting teamwork and partnership; accountable – transparent, efficient, and effective; respectful – demonstrating integrity and trust; equitable – honoring diversity and promoting equality; and strategic – forward thinking and innovative.

About mRelief

mRelief has built as easy-to-use platform on web and text messaging for low-income Americans to find out if they qualify and enroll in food stamps. Their mission is to restore dignity by transforming access to social services. The organization is a vendor to the California Department of Social Services and the Yolo County Health & Human Services Agency. mRelief has connected more than 230,000 families to social services.

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Logo 048f5b528087083f8a53e690b6a50a4b1e3eaac768a817e7eb49db408ba672da

January 9th, 2018 · 9:00 AM

Contact: Rose Afriyie

rose@mrelief.com

mRelief launches an End-to-End Mobile Tool to Enroll Californians in CalFresh

Launching in San Francisco County, eligible CalFresh applicants can now schedule, submit documents, and retrieve benefits all via mobile.

San Francisco, CA - mRelief, the easy-to-use platform on web and text messaging that helps low-income Americans find out if they qualify for food stamps launches an end-to-end process with an emphasis on addressing the barriers eligible users face securing benefits. After low-income families discover eligibility, they can now use a mobile-responsive platform to apply, schedule an interview, and submit necessary verifications -- the 3 required steps to receive CalFresh food assistance benefits. CalFresh is a federally funded supplemental nutrition benefit (formerly known as food stamps) that increases meal budgets and access to better nutrition for California households.

“ ...Interview conducted over phone and approved the same day. This is extremely efficient and hassle free. Modern technology at its best,” Glenda Ross posted an applicant who was recently approved and used the tool to navigate the process.

Video Demo.

After screening at www.mrelief.com/calfresh and a client is deemed likely eligible, a user must submit a CalFresh application and complete a required interview that can be done in-person or over the phone. mRelief’s tool has an adaptive SMS flow for the applicant’s preferred experience. Those who apply in person are provided free Lyft rides, funded by philanthropic donations. In-person applicants can also coordinate their arrival and departure, receive navigation help to the card distribution center, and share approval outcomes -- all via SMS. Phone applicants can receive reminders, text documents ahead of their interview for case worker viewing, and can receive updates on delays and outstanding documents.

“We started this work providing actionable information to clients on eligibility,” said Rose Afriyie Executive Director of mRelief. “Now, in partnership with government, we have built an affirming platform that helps applicants take the actions they need to actually enroll.”

The partnership with San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA), responsible for administration of CalFresh benefits for San Francisco residents, launched as a pilot effort in February 2017 and included the California Department of Social Services. Since then, the tool has evolved from one that helps clients find out if they qualify for CalFresh to assisting clients after they apply to complete outstanding steps for enrollment. In initial testing of the tool, more than 70 percent of clients went on to attend the required interview with HSA, a step required to receive benefits.

The enhanced process was designed to ensure that optimizations to CalFresh enrollment are consistent with existing business processes. Clients benefit from a streamlined eligibility screening receiving a result in ~10 questions that take less than 5 minutes to answer. Along with digital application assistance, mRelief’s text messages include interview scheduling confirmations, guidance on documentation requirements to enroll, and helpful messages on the day of the interview. The application tool also eliminates manual follow-up that is currently done to facilitate interview scheduling and long term case management that requires in-person help. Clients benefit from help with account creation so that they can later submit forms for renewal or report changes through myBenefits CalWin without in-person assistance.

About California Department of Social Services

The San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA) promotes well-being and self-sufficiency among individuals, families and communities in San Francisco. The Agency delivers a safety net of services and public benefits that are designed to meet the unique needs of low-income individuals, children and families, older adults, and adults with disabilities. As a state-mandated county public social services agency, HSA provides public assistance through cash assistance, food and nutritional support, health insurance (Medi-Cal), employment training, child care subsidies, in home care, and supportive housing and shelter, among other services.

About mRelief

mRelief has built as easy-to-use platform on web and text messaging for low-income Americans to find out if they qualify and enroll in food stamps. Their mission is to restore dignity by transforming access to social services. The organization is a vendor to the California Department of Social Services and Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency. mRelief has connected more than 230,000 families to social services.

mRelief is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Over 230,000 families connected to social services and counting.