Ample Labs, in partnership with Ada, have announced Chalmers, an AI-powered chatbot designed to instantly connect Toronto’s homeless community with local resources. Ready with 24/7 support accessible across desktop and mobile devices, Chalmers provides real-time information about free meals, clothing banks, overnight shelters, drop-in facilities, and more.
Throughout the course of its six months in beta testing, Chalmers has grown to support 700 users each month, providing a total of 6,500 recommendations, including 4,000 meals and 800 overnight shelter opportunities.
“Nothing has been more meaningful than seeing the connections, potential, and even excitement our Chalmers chatbot is bringing to its users,” said CG Chen, founder of Ample Labs. “We’ve spent a lot of time in shelters working with both front-line staff and clients to ensure Chalmers addressed their needs — and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Chalmers was funded by an Ample Labs-led crowdfunding campaign, with 50% of funds going toward paying at-risk youth who manage the chatbot. Chalmers was built in-house by Ample Labs, with the support and expertise of Ada, the industry leader in automated customer experience (ACX). Ada advised on best practices and strategies for building an accurate and dependable chatbot. While the initial focus for the collaboration has been on the Toronto homeless community, both Ample Labs and Ada have a vision to introduce Chalmers to those in need around the globe.
“Our partnership with Ample Labs is meaningful for all of us at Ada. Above and beyond driving profit, we believe in using our technology and expertise to support important social causes,” said Mike Murchison, CEO of Ada. “Together with Ample Labs, we’re sharing our insights and expertise from working with enterprise businesses to bring purposeful, automated assistance to our local Toronto community. The rapid adoption of Chalmers to date demonstrates the immediate need for its service.”
In developing Chalmers, Ample Labs conducted over 100+ interviews, workshops, and consultations with frontline staff, homeless and at-risk youth, community organizations, and social services in Toronto. The organization’s efforts have validated extremely-high mobile-phone possession amongst those experiencing homelessness in Toronto. Recent research in North America suggests more than 90% of homeless individuals possess phones, making a web-based chatbot the right solution to address the real-time needs of this community.