AsylumConnect Scales Catalog v3.0 to Philadelphia, PA

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 21st, 2017

AsylumConnect Scales First Online, Centralized Resource Database For LGBTQ Asylum Seekers to Philadelphia, PA

Catalog version 3.0 offers improved design & user experience

FEBRUARY 21st, 2017, PHILADELPHIA, PA -  Today, AsylumConnect, an incorporated nonprofit startup, released version 3.0 of its resource catalog for the city of Philadelphia. The AsylumConnect catalog is the first online, centralized database of service providers for LGBTQ asylum seekers in the U.S.

“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.

Every year, thousands1 of LGBTQ people coming from one of the 73 countries where it is still illegal to be gay2, 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.) Of catalog v2.0, David* an asylum seeker who helped test catalog v2.0 comments:  "Highly recommended,"easy to use, nothing not to like."

AsylumConnect leveraged the results of the Seattle pilot to inform its prioritization of catalog improvements and additions. 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), and improved mobile-friendly design. Additionally, catalog v3.0 introduces 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.

In this charged sociopolitical context, it is more important than ever to stand up for vulnerable communities. AsylumConnect's lifesaving informational resource does just that.

* Name has been changed to protect this person’s identity.

1 Human Rights Campaign (October 2015).

2 National Geographic (June 2016).

AsylumConnect Blogger