April 9, 2017
“Where can I go for shelter?”, “Where can I get my next meal?”, “How can I take care of my mental health?”, “Where can I find social support?” – these are the lifesaving questions that the AsylumConnect catalog is designed to answer. This high-impact tech product allows LGBTQ asylum seekers to access providers specializing in these wraparound services in one convenient, online location.
On February 21st, 2017, AsylumConnect, a fiscally sponsored nonprofit, released version 3.0 of its resource catalog for the city of Philadelphia. The AsylumConnect catalog is the first online, centralized resource database for LGBTQ asylum seekers in the U.S.
Every year, thousands of LGBTQ people coming from one of the 73 countries where it is still illegal to be gay, seek asylum in the U.S. – yet upon their arrival in the U.S., many LGBTQ asylum seekers continue to lack the information necessary to meet their most fundamental human needs.
The AsylumConnect catalog aims to fills this gap by providing vital access to information. This access to information empowers LGBTQ asylum seekers to safely integrate in the U.S.
AsylumConnect piloted its catalog model in Seattle, WA. (Our catalog is currently listed as a recommended resource by Seattle’s LGBTQ Center and Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.)
In collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania’s Hack4Impact (a student organization that connects student software developers with nonprofits), AsylumConnect developed catalog v3.0 to enhance both design and user experience. Catalog v3.0 offers numerous improvements, including:
The ability for users to select among multiple cities
Automated resource submission and editing (both subject to internal verification prior to publication)
Automated resource reporting for negative interactions
Printer compatibility for users with limited Internet access
The capacity for users to filter their search by required documentation (photo ID, proof of age, proof of residence, proof of income, medical insurance, a referral)
Improved mobile-friendly design
The introduction of open-sourced code and accompanying community contribution guidelines
During this expansion to Philadelphia, AsylumConnect will continue to test and observe its catalog model to inform future iterations.
Local service providers interested in learning more about AsylumConnect and how the AsylumConnect catalog can be used directly by providers to help gather referrals for LGBTQ asylum clients, should email the AsylumConnect team at: [email protected].
Students, young professionals, and local activists interested in joining the AsylumConnect team should visit: http://www.asylumconnect.org/join-our-team/.
Local press/media requests can be directed to Favio, AsylumConnect Director of Marketing and Publicity, at: [email protected].
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