About 1/5 of the people who lived below the federal poverty level in the United States in 2019, or roughly 6.3 million people, were in the labor force for more at least 27 weeks. About 2.7% of those people worked full time yet could not generate enough income to rise above the poverty line. Whether someone is working full or part-time, impoverished people frequently need to rely on help from social service agencies, both in the government and non-profit sector, to make ends meet. But no single organization can provide for everyone’s needs, which means that people who rely on service agencies for support often have to jump around to multiple organizations to get the resources they need.

This brings us to a phenomenon called agency time. This word was initially coined by people living in generational poverty. It came into widespread use within social service agencies following the publication of Bridges Out of Poverty, written by advocate and former elementary school principal Ruby Payne. Agency time refers to any time someone spends interacting with social service agencies. This includes filling out forms, meeting with staff, calling offices, waiting in line, and traveling to obtain services. Agency time tends to stack, especially if someone’s wages fail to provide everything needed to live. If you combine agency time with time spent working, acquiring reliable transport, and ensuring safe child care, it’s easy to see how the stresses of poverty can quickly become overwhelming. On top of that, agency time doesn’t always yield results, as anyone who’s waited on hold for hours with the unemployment office during the pandemic will tell you.


Using AI Networks to Cut Down on Agency Time

Decentralization of services remains one of the main structural barriers to escaping generational poverty. Having to bandy yourself around town to have your basic needs met can shred anyone’s motivation and well-being, even before considering the stresses associated with working and raising a family.  But imagine if we could curb the stresses generated by agency time.

Though it’s impossible to eliminate agency time, C3S’s app centralizes many problems that have plagued collaboration between service agencies for years. Once a client creates a C3S account, they need only fill out their information once. A client can then share their information with any agency or enterprise in the network instantaneously. Imagine visiting an agency and immediately filling out all paperwork and registration documents with the click of a button, rather than having to spend hours in an intake waiting room.

Furthermore, agencies in the network can communicate and share information in one centralized hub. They can also instantly communicate with their clients, centralizing care coordination into a single platform, rather than having to send a bevy of emails to separate offices or wait on hold with providers all day. Even if an agency has not been added to the network, anyone, whether they’re clients or providers, can use C3S’s AI to identify new agencies in the local area—as well as their contact information—and immediately invite them into the service network. Plus, C3S’s HIPAA compliant software ensures that everyone’s private information remains just that: private.

To learn about all the other ways AI is revolutionizing service work, check out our other blog posts.

If you think C3S would benefit your agency or clients, click here to schedule a 30-minute informational session.