The MassResources.org (MassResources.org) web site provides comprehensive information across a wide variety of areas on programs, resources, and benefits that address the needs of individuals and families with limited income. The intent is to make the often-complex social service system more transparent and accessible to individuals. The web site acts as a guide to relevant sources of support and gives clear answers to commonly asked questions. The primary target audience is individuals and families in the lower 30% of household income. Service providers are also an important audience and help to promote use of the web site by consumers. A “resources” web site such as ours can compliment other web sites in existence which provide inventories of local agencies and programs, but do not address important “funding streams” (e.g., food stamps, Earned Income Tax Credit, Medicaid, etc.) as do we.
Our statewide site (MassResources.org) is a good illustration of a cost effective way to provide information. A statewide web site can serve a much larger audience than would a city or regional site. While seemingly ambitious, we emphasize content on our web site that is only in need of updating on a periodic basis. Most of the assistance programs we provide information about can be found in every state in the nation.
The MassResources.org web site focuses on important federal and state funding streams (programs) that have been developed over the years to channel resources to needy individuals and families (e.g., food stamps, Section 8 rental assistance, Medicaid, fuel assistance, TANF, Earned Income Tax Credit etc.). As such, we have organized information according to specific vital human needs (e.g., housing, food, health care) and explain how to access the relevant benefits and programs that exist to address these needs or concerns.
For each benefit or program that is described on the web site, the following is typically covered: 1) what the benefit/program entails; 2) eligibility criteria; 3) practical information on how and where to apply; 4) benefit levels and availability; and 4) consumer rights and responsibilities. Information on the web site is routinely updated to stay current with changes in the eligibility criteria and availability of various programs and benefits.
The web site has several important technological features:
In terms of technical features, the MassResources.org web site is a database-driven, dynamically generated site using Adobe Cold Fusion 9, Microsoft’s SQL Server database management system, and Microsoft’s IIS web server, all running on a Windows platform. Content can be added and updated with a sophisticated built-in text editor, which is similar to a word processing program; thereby mostly eliminating the need to work with HTML programming code. The web site uses a cascading style sheet, which reduces the amount of redundant html code, makes it easier to transform the appearance of a new web site, and facilitates accessibility for persons with visual disabilities. We have developed the web site to be compliant with W3C accessibility guidelines.
For further information on licensing a web site from CRI, please see Licensing.
The MassResources.org web site includes in-depth subject matter in a variety of domains such as: