The date is July 31st 2017 and the Toronto Star reports the closure of North York Shelter- a women only shelter- which scheduled for demolition and rebirth laid off the staff leaving women seeking information and services in a much more vulnerable place. Women shelters are more than a safe 'physical' place , they help connect women with legal support, crisis counselling and additional services. Hence, it is detrimental to provide ongoing service built in trust and discretion.
What it does
Hope.Chatbot seeks to empower and assist women in need of shelter. By partnering with different women shelters and by collecting the City of Toronto's data, Hope.Chatbot offers a platform with reliable information updated daily. Information on nearest shelter depending on the user's location, crisis counselling, legal services would be accessible.
How we built it
Hope.Chatbot is developed using React. We found amazing examples of chatbot libraries in React and we have been experimenting with them. We also incorporated Google Maps into one of our React components to be able to show the nearest shelters.
Challenges we ran into
Majority of us have never touched React so this was an amazing new thing to learn and experiment with. We learned a lot about components.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We learned photoshop to animate our logo :P We also learned a lot about trying to use google maps with React. This was probably our highest learning curve. It took a lot of configuring to get it right.
What we learned
We learned a lot about harnessing the skills of each teammate and the pervasive issue of homelessness in our community.
What's next for Hope.Chatbot for Women Shelters
We are hoping to continue empower vulnerable women by developing the application as a plugging accessible everywhere in Canada making it available in French, Spanish and Arabic. We also want to reinforce the machine learning component of the chatbot using LUIS and NLP. It would be essential to partner relevant social services and women shelters. Moreover, we understand the need to offer privacy and discretion.Next, the focus of Hope.Chatbot is to offer the option of clearing/wiping the history of the user in case they are in a hostile environment.