CHICAGO, December 8, 2021— Safe Stays by ReloShare has won the Social Innovator Award from Chicago Innovation for its first-of-its-kind technology platform that successfully addresses the challenge of finding quick and anonymous emergency housing for crime victims.
Winners were named December 7 at the 20th annual Chicago Innovation Award dinner event, the Chicago region’s foremost recognition of the most innovative new products or services brought to market each year.
Safe Stays by ReloShare was chosen for the development and launch of its custom hotel booking portal. This unique portal enables social services nonprofits and government agencies to secure safe emergency lodging at local hotels under complete anonymity for survivors of crime, such as domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual assault. Via Safe Stays by ReloShare and its nationwide hotel partners, accommodations can be made for crime victims using name aliases and without identification and credit card requirements during their stay—ensuring private yet safe housing for those who often are in desperate and dangerous situations.
“In the midst of a global pandemic, innovation is needed more than ever,” said Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder with Chicago journalist Dan Miller of the awards. “The 2021 winners are solving unmet needs impacting healthcare, social services, education, finance, food consumption, telecommunications, manufacturing, business services, consumer products and more.”
COVID-19 and its impact on the Chicago region sparked the innovation behind Safe Stays by ReloShare. In April 2020, domestic violence cases significantly increased due to pandemic lockdowns, while emergency housing capacity decreased due to social distancing guidelines and other factors.
“Learning of this dire situation motivated us to act quickly on behalf of those in need,” said Matt Singley, co-founder and chief executive officer of ReloShare. “We believed our ReloShare technology, spearheaded and developed by Chief Technology Officer John Moats to serve the corporate housing market, could be adapted to help solve this immense social service challenge. In the first month, we helped safely house 100 Chicago-area victims. That initial success led to the creation of Safe Stays by ReloShare, a now-nationwide initiative that is enhancing and saving numerous lives every day.”
The winning Chicago Innovation Award organizations receive a variety of honors, including participation in a NASDAQ bell-ringing ceremony in New York City, and meetings with the Chicago mayor, Illinois governor and Cook County president.
“This year’s awards had 425 organizations nominated,” said Luke Tanen, president and CEO of Chicago Innovation. “As a group, these nominees are responsible for generating over $19 billion in new revenues, 22,807 new jobs, and 340 patents from their nominated new products and services. The winners represent the best from this very impressive group.” The complete list of
Chicago Innovation Award winners can be found at www.chicagoinnovation.com. The Chicago Innovation Awards are supported by Diamond sponsors Wintrust, Accenture, SMS Assist, and Walgreens, along with Gold sponsors Comcast Business and Exelon, and other organizations.