HACK HOMELESSNESS HACKATHON
In San Francisco, the number of people experiencing homelessness has become a crisis. This hackathon challenge tackles how we can use technology and design to provide accessibility of existing legal services for the homeless population.
PURPOSE: Creating a website that helps to prevent homelessness from evictions
TIMELINE: 3 Days
MY ROLE: UI/UX Designer
TOOLS: Sketch, Google Slides
METHODOLOGY: User interviews, Legal Research & translations
43% increase in homelessness in Alameda County since 2017
4.5 evictions per day in Alameda County
You have 5 days to take action when served with an eviction
On top of being served an eviction (Unlawful detainer) the person being served also has to fill out the form which has complex legalese. Now imagine if English isn’t their first language! This process becomes more stressful than ever.
How to reduce for Tenants the Burdens of the Eviction Process?
Pain Point: In order to begin the above process, a tenant who receives a Notice of Eviction must appear physically at EDC offices and stay for up to four hours to be matched with an attorney. The attorney must file an answer to the Notice of Eviction within 5 days of the time that notice was received by the tenant.
How to make it easier for EDC-assigned attorneys, their clients (tenants), and the court system to communicate?
Pain Point: Failed communications result in missed appointments with attorneys, failure to appear at court dates, missed filing deadlines, etc., all of which can cause tenant to lose eviction proceedings.
IDEA #1 - CENTRALIZED LOCATION FOR ATTORNEY/CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS (IOS/WEB)
To resolve the possibilities of failed communications between attorneys and tenants, we could create a centralized application, where both attorneys and tenants can log in. This could also work as a centralized location to gather evidence and a way to see when appointments are. Push notifications could be used to better notify clients when important court dates are coming up.
PROCESS: Roadblocks to Idea #1
Talked with Randi and Sima (law students)
E-filing is not always an option. Sometimes, in the same courthouse, one judge will allow E-filing, and the other judge will not allow it.
There are restrictions on whether or not legal advice can be provided. Therefore there may be limits in terms of how much convenience an app or technology platform can do for a tenant.
Conclusions from analysis of idea’s feasibility
The problem is a shortage of lawyers.
Tenants might not have access to a smartphone or personal laptop.
Users may not be inclined to go through the trouble of downloading an app just to access a service.
This is too technologically complex for the scope of a hackathon.
Talked with Matthew Tom
Attorneys want to control the entire process with clients, to make sure to get all the information.
There’s a lot involved in making sure the clients provide all the information available.
Interview with Anglebert
You absolutely want to go through Eviction Defense Collaborative (EDC), in order to get paired with counsel. So in the case of San Francisco, you do not want to file on your own.
PROCESS: FINAL Idea #2
A website with Translation of Legalese into Layman Terms to Fill in UD-105
There’s a crucial step in the eviction process, where a tenant needs to respond within five days. It’s crucial that a tenant is able to identify when they have been served an unlawful detainer case (eviction case). The website should help tenants recognize a UD-100, SUM-130, as once the tenant is served, that is when the five-day timer starts.
To resolve the burden of the legal system on tenants, we want to provide tenants with an easy way to fill out a UD-105 answer form. In addition, we want to provide tenants with a set of easy layman questions that prepare them for meeting with legal counsel.
As a team we:
Discussed the explanation of the eviction forms through a survey.
Eliminated log-in or sign-up as a requirement.
Provide small pop-ups or explanations of the legalese.
Agreed that having a website & mobile site gives accessibility to all, instead of creating an app.
MEDIUM FIDELITY CONCEPT
What we presented at the Hackathon
1. HOME PAGE:
Immediate call-to-action and language options
2. Identifying the form
The first question would ask the user if they have received a UD-100 form.
The site will help show a sample document and how to locate the form number.
If the user is unsure what the UD-100 is, there is a link that explains what the form is.
3. RECEIVAL DATE:
Input field for entering the date the user received the form.
There is a link next to the fill-out form that would explain why inputting the date matters.
Responding is time-sensitive, and the tenant would need to reply within 5 days of receiving the UD-100 form.
4. Solution: Responding with the next steps
FEEDBACK FROM THE JUDGES
Generally Positive Feedback:
They liked the prompts/quick link to an explanation of what the forms are and why they’re important. As well as multiple languages.
The immediate, straightforward solution is great. A website is the best medium for our users.
Deploy a working website with the goal of translating more legal documents.
Lawyers praised the idea of having the client be prepared so they can get their job done faster.
For our 2nd page of the survey “Solution: Identifying the form,” they wanted to know what a ‘No’ button would look like, and where that would take the user.
1RST PRIZE: $1,000 DONATION TO OUR FAVORITE CHARITY
We decided to donate to The ARC:
“The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.”
I had worked with them in the past when I volunteered for an Accessibility theater at CCSF.