Ample Labs and 211 Ontario
The Chalmers chatbot is a user-informed and user-friendly app, designed to help those experiencing homelessness find assistance addressing basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing banks and drop-ins. Chalmers serves the homeless population, and it is truly co-designed and co-created in partnership with members of the community who have lived experience and who can help build a tool that will genuinely serve their needs.
Chalmers was created through an innovative partnership between Ample Labs, a non-profit empowering those facing homelessness with technology, and 211 Ontario, a leader in helping people navigate the human services system.
- Ample Labs developed, tested and launched Chalmers
- 211 Ontario provided access to the rich repository of resource data for Toronto and worked with Ample Labs to ensure the records were usable by their chatbot.
The creators of the innovative app understood that many of those struggling with complex issues such as poverty, mental illness, addictions or social isolation would likely require live assistance with advocacy, follow-up, or referral to other programs or services. To ensure these groups have their needs fully met, Chalmers app users who do need extra support are directed to contact 211 (through phone, chat, email or online search) — with services available 24 hours a day.
By bringing together effective and intelligent IT tools with live mediated assistance where required, there is huge potential to improve the way people find access to services in the future. While the Chalmers app currently addresses the needs of people living in homelessness, it is easy to see how this type of tool, developed through a cross-sectoral partnership and deep user engagement, could expand to serve other needs. An expanded tool could be a game-changer for patients and caregivers looking for support as they navigate their service journey in Ontario.
Human services navigation can be complex, but 211 and Ample Labs believe that new services will offer a clear path to help, and an improved ability for people to manage their own journey, and to thrive.