Carl specializes in economic analysis and modeling.
For decades, low-income people have had to navigate overwhelming and fragmented service delivery systems to meet the needs of their families.
To address this problem, ECONorthwest has collaborated with public and nonprofit agencies to fundamentally change how governments deliver information to their citizens. Today, people in need of critical services can anonymously answer simple questions about their family size, income, and housing situation. A web-based benefits prescreener then evaluates whether they are likely to qualify for assistance from up to 30 programs, including: food, health, cash, housing, energy, senior assistance, and tax credits. The site tells visitors which services they appear to be eligible for and directs them to the closest agency that provides each service. The site is available in multiple languages.
Our benefits prescreeners employ a flexible design that easily accommodates the addition of new questions, new programs, and other languages. Questions are generated one screen at a time, based on answers to previous questions. This allows each user to be asked the minimum number of questions appropriate to their situation, while ensuring that all necessary questions are asked and answered.
Our first benefits prescreener was Oregon Helps. The flexible design of that site has allowed us to rapidly and economically develop several similar sites. Arizona Self Help, New Jersey Helps, and Los Angeles County Helps are currently in use and others are under development. Each prescreener incorporates local programs, rules, and contact information.
Our first benefits prescreener, Oregon Helps, which has won important national and international awards.