Founded by entrepreneurs India Hayes and Anita Jones, Mini City is launching to change the way that non-profits and municipalities assist the homeless.
Chronic homelessness is a major problem in the United States. Georgia ranks sixth in the nation for states with the highest number of unsheltered people and is the second worst state in the nation for child homelessness. Over 10,000 people in metro Atlanta experience homelessness on any given night. Mini City arose from the ideation of activists, developers, and strategists with a single vision: using tech-enabled solutions to eradicate homelessness.
“One of the major impediments to reducing long-term homeless is the difficulty that homeless individuals have securing vital records and identification cards.” Says Mini City co-founder India Hayes, a SCAD graduate who has been volunteering domestically and internationally for more than a decade. “You need vital records and ID to take advantage of many basic services that empower an individual into sustainable levels of ownership and self sufficiency. However, there are significant obstacles including costs related to applications and filing fees, as well as transportation expenses, and requiring a mailing address. Securing an ID can be a daunting task for a segment of our society that is often overlooked— a lack of identification starts to become a much larger issue, rendering individuals unseen in society.”
Shelters and non-profits that work with the homeless have a number of resource constraints; not least of which are financial and human resource related. This is where Mini City comes in.
“As we know, many cities have difficulty offering aid or finding solutions that stand to contribute to the long-term improvement of the lives of homeless people. In this way, Atlanta is not alone, as other major cities around the nation find themselves in similar circumstances,” says co-founder and documentary filmmaker, Anita Jones. “However, as Atlanta is fast-becoming the entrepreneurial and tech hub of the southeast, we believe that we are in a unique culture and community that will allow for successful solutions.”
Mini City is currently piloting a program that takes all needs into account. In the program, Mini City pairs NFC technology with proprietary software to streamline the administrative process for both homeless individuals and shelters. As a homeless individual navigates each module, they are able to secure various forms of identification, birth certificates, social security cards, resume help, and job placement.
Vital Records and: ID Fair
On May 18, 2017 (8:30am-12:00pm), Mini City is partnering with the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Services (http://salvationarmyatlanta.org/red-shield-services/) to produce a Vital Records and ID Fair. Together with the Salvation Army, along with a crew of corporate volunteers from Mercer and Community Bucket, Mini City will continue the process enrolling those in need into the pilot program. In addition, Mini City’s food partner, Goodr Food Rescue (http://goodrapp.com/), will be providing a meal for all of those who enroll in the program.
“Our Vital Records and ID Fair with the Salvation Army is our introduction to the Atlanta community. We have space for a total of 500 people in our pilot, and we’re hoping to fill up our remaining spaces during the fair,” says Hayes.
As part of Goodie Nation’s 2016 cohort, Mini City is a startup on the rise that is poised to change the way that homeless individuals receive vital records.
Mini City is a cost-saving resource hub that seeks to alleviate long-term homelessness. Mini City achieves this by streamlining the administrative processes for obtaining legal identification, vital records (birth certificates and social security cards), and employment forms. Mini City is a finalist for the First Annual Startup Atlanta Awards’ Best Social Impact Startup award. For more information, visit http://www.minicityatl.com.