By Zion Lee
On January 16th, 2020, the City of Trenton released the “What I Need” or “WIN” App for individuals (ages 16-24) who are affected by homelessness. While this app is new to the Trenton-Mercer County area, it already is a resource provided in Los Angeles, California. It is advertised to help link users to resources such as “shelter, crisis, food, drop-in centers, health, legal, hotlines, education, jobs, transportation, benefits, and more”. There are some reviews about the app from users in California we need to know if this is a viable resource here in Mercer County. The Streetlight, decided to download the WIN App and see if it is a useful resource for our readers.
At first, it seems as though nothing could go wrong with the WIN application. The app has an easily navigable menu that is colorful and has images representing the type of resource available to users on the app: such as a phone icon for hotlines and a bed icon for shelters. Each resource is categorized by type of necessity for ease of access. Also, there is a map function that displays the local area and the locations of the programs associated with the WIN app. However, after tinkering with the app we discovered that the app requires an internet connection to properly function. Thus, this app would only be fully helpful if used in locations where internet access is available. Furthermore, the app is targeted at a very narrow age group, specifically marketed to help youth combat homelessness, which leaves out a large population of people who are still affected by homelessness. In addition, whilst keeping the app on our phone, it would only give us notifications from Californian shelters and resource providers, despite selecting the Trenton, NJ option when setting up the app. Such notifications can be confusing for individuals who are not in the California area. Through our observations, it is evident that Trenton’s WIN app clearly needs more time to improve.
As of now, the Trenton WIN App clearly has a lot of potential to become an amazing resource. In due time, the app will likely develop into a great resource for the 16-24 aged individuals who struggle with homelessness and have access to a smartphone with the internet. Furthermore, in times such as the COVID-19 quarantine where everything is remote, The Streetlight recognizes the value of having an electronic resource that is easy to access. No one knows for certain exactly what will happen in the future, however, with improvements such as an offline map that still displays the locations of resources and real-time notifications for the Mercer County area, the app seems to be a great internet tool. However, for anyone that does not fit the age range the app is designed for or does not have access to a smart device with internet, please check out the Streetlight resource guide!
06/02/2020- The City of Trenton has responded to The Streetlight and has “put in a request” to solve the “Win” App’s location issues to ensure there is no “confusion in services”.