2018 Spring Conference

New Frontiers in Data – New Systems, Partners and Technologies.

Program for Spring 2018

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

We’re pleased to present the Program for this Spring’s NHSDC Conference in Pittsburgh happening on April 18th and 19th.

For a complete rundown of this information-packed event, please download the Program Booklet by clicking Download File below.

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Measuring the Impact of Natural Disasters on the Homeless System

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

Collecting PIT data in communities impacted by natural disasters is essential to assure regions are not penalized. Data also helps to further inform recommendations on long-term disaster recovery to the State Agencies so they may better know how to utilize Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds. By measuring this impact, the disaster results are normalized so that these regions are treated fairly when compared to areas that were not directly impacted. The work is made possible through the adoption of GPS-enabled mobile technologies that enable impacted communities to gather and report geo-spatial information in ways that traditional HMIS or paper-based count methodologies.

Presenter(s): Eric Samuels, President/CEO, Texas Homeless Network; Tara Carruth, Program Manager, Ventura County Continuum of Care; Nathan Andrade, Programmer Analyst, Simtech Solutions

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HMIS 101 for New HMIS Leads & System Administrators

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference HMIS 101 System Administration

This session has been requested by HUD to share tools, tips, and tricks with new HMIS Leads and System Administrators to effectively administer an HMIS implementation, support end users, and communicate with CoC leadership and other HMIS stakeholders. This session will provide an overview of the roles, responsibilities, functions, and expectations of an HMIS Lead or System Administrator while also sharing helpful strategies for translating HUD guidance and resources into actionable training material, monitoring tools, and report templates. This session will also help to inform HMIS Leads and System Administrators of their crucial role within a CoC governance structure.

Presenter(s): Ryan Burger, Technical Specialist, ICF

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The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: A Sensible Guide to Data Integration

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

Innovative programs to end homelessness are engaging with the HMIS like never before. With increasing technical sophistication becoming more available, agencies are seeking to integrate disparate data systems into the HMIS. This session outlines a realistic approach to data integration covering topics like integration planning, obtaining appropriate partner agreements, creating lists of technical concerns and planning for limitations and challenges once integration has been done.

Presenter(s): Jim O’Sullivan, Director of Data Services and Stacy Holmes, King County HMIS Project Manager, Bitfocus

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Victim Service Providers and Comparable Databases

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

This session has been requested by HUD to share guidance with HMIS Leads, System Administrators, and CoC leadership on the role of victim services providers in the CoC, and how HMIS and comparable databases can be used to support their crucial work. This session will discuss 1) the applicability of the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) to different providers, based on mission and funding source, 2) the role of the HMIS and comparable databases in tracking data and assessing performance measurement, coordinated entry process, and outcomes evaluations, and 3) the balance between protecting client privacy and confidentiality and quickly housing a household that is fleeing domestic violence.

Presenter(s): Mike Lindsay, Senior Technical Specialist, ICF; Debbie Fox, Senior Housing Policy & Practice Specialist, National Network to End Domestic Violence

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Sharing Data across Systems to Prevent and End Youth and Family Homelessness

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

This session will explore the work it takes to effectively share and match data across systems that interact with youth and families experiencing homelessness. The conversation will explore successful experiences in creating partnerships to access data from systems designed to protect sensitive data that presents challenges to sharing across systems. The speakers will also discuss technical issues they faced in their data sharing, including element and ID matching. Speakers will have experience and knowledge sharing HMIS data with child welfare and elementary and secondary school systems. The session will be interactive and will include facilitated discussion and problem-solving ideas with the speakers and audience.

Presenter(s): Sarah Hunter, Senior Program Manager, CSH; Emily Mertz, Research Manager at University of Chicago Urban Labs

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From Outputs, to Outcomes, to Actions

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

The evolution of the HMIS into a management decision tool offers Continuum of Care Data and Evaluation Leads new opportunities to aid communities in a decision support shift; from experiencing performance data as overwhelming and mysterious, to becoming engaged in assessing program progress at a more detailed level to identify what is working, what is not working and provide a roadmap for adjusting system-level strategies to end homelessness. The presentation will cover how a progressive data-driven dialogue improves programs by being able to use a granular method for data query and visualization.

Presenter(s): Jess Jorstad, Lead Data and Program Analyst, Snohomish County; Sam Scoville, Grants Program Manager, Snohomish County Office of Community and Homeless Services [

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Using Data Integration and Pay for Success to Advance Supportive Housing for Vulnerable Populations

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

After working closely with leaders from the state and local levels, the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) and the University of Chicago’s Center for Data Science and Public Policy (DSaPP) have collaborated on a data-driven project to improve human outcomes, increase public safety, and create value by effectively targeting resources. By integrating data from the homeless and jail systems, there is a significant opportunity to reduce the number of people who enter and stay in local jail systems. This session will provide an overview of the project, details on the data integration tool, and how the tool’s results will be used to implement supportive housing through creative financing models like Pay for Success.

Presenter(s): Christina Sung, Project Manager, University of Chicago; Kim Keaton, Associate Director of Data and Analytics, CSH

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Use Performance Data to Right-Size a Homeless System and Reach Functional Zero For All Populations

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

New approaches to ending homelessness through data modeling have been emerging for the past several years. This session will focus on using data extracted from HMIS to determine up-to-date system and program performance, where results are further used to model the most likely ways to right-size community inventory and achieve the goal of functionally zero homelessness among all populations. The session will illustrate the use of analytic and data preparation processes that show examples of how communities have used their Base Year Calculator results to help guide system planning. A demonstration of the System Performance Predictor (SPP) tool will also be covered.

Presenter(s): Tracy Bennet, Director of Analytics and Evaluation, Samantha Spangler, Analytics Consultant, and Genevieve Williamson, Chief Analyst, Focus Strategies

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BigBurgh.com: Successes and Challenges in Building an Online Resource for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

BigBurgh.com is a digital resource created for individuals experiencing homelessness, taking hundreds of fractured listings of services and combining them into one, easy-to-use web-based “app”. Originally piloted by a Pittsburgh nonprofit, BigBurgh was created to replace difficult, paper-based systems used by law enforcement to help clients quickly and clearly access shelters and food banks. We will demonstrate the benefits of a mobile-friendly website vs. an app by highlighting design principals like information chunking and clear text descriptions that guide the user through a quick query and returned data set.

Presenter(s): Sally Stadelman, Manager, BigBurgh.com, City of Pittsburgh, Department of Public Safety; Bob Firth, Founder, Informing Design

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Day Shelters and Data: Answer to Understanding and Ending Homelessness

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

New Orleans has taken a special interest in day shelters and their data. We will look at how to work with community partners on special projects to derive new data to begin to create a story of homelessness and how we can better serve the community. This session will take time to discuss using nontraditional data to think outside the box and develop new plans. This session will also take an in-depth look at the partnership with local day shelter to input and analyze data about individuals who visit the shelter for different services. This session hopes to encourage everyone to begin thinking about homelessness from different lenses and begin creating new initiatives to help engage your community in specialized strategies.

Presenter(s): Shercole King, HMIS Administrator and Helen Meridy, HMIS Data Support Specialist, Via Link

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Using Integrated Data to Improve Human Services in Allegheny County, PA

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

Allegheny County, Pennsylvania’s data warehouse has been in place for almost twenty years, allowing its Department of Human Services to leverage data from internal human service sources and key external data sources. This integrated data has helped to improve service delivery and case coordination across service areas, enhance analytic and research opportunities, improved management decision making, and more recently, the implementation of a nationally renowned predictive analytics tool to assist with child welfare decision making. This plenary discussion will include an overview of the history of the development of the data warehouse, as well as discuss current and planned future uses and enhancements to Allegheny County’s integrated data system.

Presenter(s): Erin Dalton, Deputy Director for the Office of Data Analysis, Research and Evaluation and Andy Halfhill, Manager of Homelessness/Housing Analytics for the Office of Data Analysis, Research and Evaluation, Allegheny County Department of Human Services

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Vendor Contracts 101

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

HMIS software contracts are an important foundation for a good working relationship between software or third-party vendors and the CoC. Contracts tend to have pre-written, boilerplate language that can come from the vendor or government entities when the CoC or HMIS Lead is a government agency. The boilerplates usually have standard service level agreements, which usually results in a generic contract for services and software, entered into in good faith but difficult to use for monitoring purposes or for resolving contractual issues. We think it can work differently and benefit both parties. What if HMIS Leads make the direct link between the RFP, the vendor responses, the selection/ scoring process and the final scope of work in the contract? What if HMIS Vendors could understand and meet the customers’ clearly documented needs and were paid for the performance they are delivering, even in the midst of developing enhancements or fixes to known issues? In this session we’ll take standard procurements and service level agreements and make them a tool by which an HMIS Vendor and HMIS Lead can work together to end homelessness.

Presenter(s): Mary Schwartz, Abt Associates; Molly McEvilley, Independent Consultant and Ryan Burger, Technical Specialist, ICF

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HUD’s Vision for Data (Part 2): Understanding and Measuring the SNAPS Data TA Strategy

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

Following the SNAPS Data TA Strategy Session Part 1, this session will allow for a deeper dive into the details of the SNAPS Data Strategy, provide an open setting for audience questions and planning time for communities to think about how the Data Strategy can be applied locally, as well as a game show type challenge called “Beat HUD” where audience members try to outsmart SNAPS staff.

Presenter(s): Mary Schwartz, Abt Associates; Abby Miller, Senior SNAPS Specialist and Fran Ledger, Special Needs Specialist, HUD SNAPS

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Cross-System Data Sharing in Practice

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

Coordination of data sharing across a broad number of system providers promotes a comprehensive understanding of the factors impacting a clients’ homelessness including the frequency of service utilization for housing and treatment resources. This session addresses client privacy concerns and legal restrictions to data sharing across a broad number of response systems including health care, criminal, juvenile justice, and foster care. This presentation will highlight innovative yet practical techniques for kick starting cross-system data sharing among different providers that will improve care coordination, facilitate positive client outcomes and lowered system costs.

Presenter(s): George Martin, Policy Analyst and Alicia Lehmer, Policy Analyst, Homebase; Brooke Page, Assistant Manager, Clark County Social Service, CoC Lead

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Social Determinants of Health: Creating a Multi-Agency Coordinated Care Hub for Homeless Adults

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

Last year Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) launched a unique pilot project bringing 10 diverse health care, behavioral health, shelter, and social service agencies together to manage individual care through data sharing and integrated care plans for Boston’s most costly, highest-risk Medicaid homeless patients. Transcending legal and technical challenges, the goal was to allow case managers and medical providers to coordinate care, move clients to permanent housing, and ultimately reduce the total number of emergency department visits and hospitalizations by 20%. We will discuss the challenges, solutions, and potential future of the project. Specific lessons to share include moving a consortium over significant legal barriers and local organizational politics, and crafting a technical platform to serve as an integrative fabric when no one solution appears ideal.

Presenter(s): Ian Kozak, Director of Strategic Devlopment, Green River; Mary Takach, Senior Health Policy Advisor, Boston Health Care for the Homeless

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Telling our Story: Tips for Choosing and Presenting Data for Decision-Making and Advocacy

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

As the scale of collected data through the HMIS continues to balloon, the need to deepen our understanding of what our data tells us becomes more critical. Comprehensive HMIS and supplemental data is only useful to the extent it can effectively inform planning and decision-making. Valuable insights are gained by looking into sub-population demographics, size and characteristics. Coordinated Entry data can help identify system pathways by population subsets. The presentation covers how communities may select appropriate data points and contextualize them for a deeper stake-holder understanding and use.

Presenter(s): Joni Canada, Community Technical Assistance and Sasha Drozdova, Community Technical Assistance, HomeBase

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A Practical Take on Improving HMIS Data Analysis and Evaluating Cross-Systems

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

NHSDC conferences consistently stress the need for Continuums of Care (CoC) to enhance their approaches toward ending homelessness through the adoption of sophisticated data analysis, documented procedures, and development of meaningful partnerships between key institutions outside the primary homeless systems of care. The way a Continuum of Care works to achieve these goals can present challenges. The Hudson County Division of Housing and Community Development will present a practical approach to how CoC’s might undertake the creation of meaningful collaborations with groups outside the world of homeless service providers that help improve data analysis and program impact.

Presenter(s): Kevin Llangari, Manager, Data Collection and Analysis and Katelyn Cunningham, Program Director, Hudson County Division of Housing and Community Development

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Local Uses of System Performance Measurement Data

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

Since 2015, Continuums of Care (CoCs) have annually submitted System Performance Measurement (SPM) data to HUD. Data from these measures is critical to marking national and local progress in ending homelessness and can provide insights into the efficiency of your local system of care. However, one key to better understanding and utilizing SPM data is the development of a local plan to create accountability and targets against each measure. Hear directly from representatives of the Ohio Balance of State CoC about their efforts to integrate the SPM data into their ongoing efforts to monitor and evaluate the performance of their projects.

Presenter(s): Natalie Matthews, Associate, Abt Associates; Mike Lindsay, Senior Technical Specialist, ICF; Genelie Denzin, HMIS Data Analyst and Amanda Wilson, HMIS Support Coordinator, COHHIO

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Bridging the Data Gap: Building Partnerships Across Systems to Coordinate Housing Services and Enhance Data Quality

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

As policy makers and program staff work to realign homeless systems of care through coordinated entry, timely and accurate access to client information becomes critical. This session demonstrates efforts underway at the King County (WA) Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) to develop data sharing agreements along with local public housing authorities (PHA’s) in order to access complete client profile data for households experiencing homelessness. The presentation will discuss data sharing agreements being developed in partnership with local housing authorities to close the gaps and provide timely information needed for clients to access housing resources.

Presenter(s): Pear Moraras, Homeless Housing and Evaluator and Abigail Schachter, Homeless Housing and Evaluator, King County Department of Community and Human Services

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Taking your System Performance Measure Analysis to the Next Level

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

This session will explore ways communities might increase their local use of System Performance Measures. Presenters will report back on community data initiatives in ICA jurisdictions inspired by the HUD System Performance Measures. Technical examples demonstrated will include demographic- specific system performance data in Iowa and Vermont, community and project-level dashboards, quarterly reporting, and incorporating Coordinated Entry data into System Performance Measure analysis.

Presenter(s): Ehren Stover-Wright, Adjunct Professor, University of Des Moines; Patrick Schacherer, HMIS Administrator, Polk County, IA; Jesse Dirkman, Data Analyst, Institute for Community Alliances

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When CE Best Practices Don’t Work: Setting up CE in Regions with Closed and Fragmented Data Systems

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

HUD has required that regions have a Coordinated Entry System in place by January 23, 2018. We’ve seen best practices from many regions who have a single, open, HMIS system and have strong participation rates. What about regions who do not? Some regions have providers that use different HMIS software or don’t use HMIS at all. Others have a compelling need to include first responders and street outreach workers into the CE framework. And then there are the regions with a closed-HMIS that have difficulty when it comes to putting the “coordinated” into “coordinated entry”. Even with all of these components figured out, then there is the need to come to a common agreement on how to prioritize people for housing opportunities that might arise, and what additional assessments should be conducted (if any). During this session we will share the experiences in working with regions for whom the commonly used best practices don’t seem to cut it.

Presenter(s): Mary Ann Priester, MSW, Homeless Management Information System Administrator, Mecklenburg County, NC; Eddie Barber, Lead Developer, Simtech Solutions

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Using Data and System Modeling to Leverage Resources and Improve your System

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

System modeling uses assumptions about the most effective pathways, or combination of programs, to serve people experiencing homelessness and data about the annual number served and current system utilizations patterns to calculate the system resources needed to rapidly exit people to housing. Attendees will learn about the system modeling tool used by Abt Associates and the Indianapolis CoC will discuss their involvement in the system modeling process and how they used the information to leverage resources for their system.

Presenter(s): Joyce Probst MacAlpine, Abt Associates

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HUD’s Vision for Data (Part 1): Understanding and Measuring the SNAPS Data TA Strategy

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

In 2018, HUD’s SNAPS Office released its Data Technical Assistance (TA) Strategy, which describes its data related vision and priorities for efforts to prevent and end homelessness. During this workshop, participants will hear directly from the team of HUD and TA staff who were instrumental in the development of the Strategy. The focus of the workshop will be on describing the Strategy and its related metrics, understanding how this effort fits into other data priorities for HUD (such as the LSA and SPIST efforts), and identifying the crucial role that both HMIS and CoC leadership teams play in ensuring that the Strategy is realized at the local level. This workshop is considered Part 1 of a two part series on the SNAPS Data TA Strategy. The second part of the series will be an opportunity for participants to test their knowledge of the Strategy, to ask HUD staff any questions that they have on its data efforts, and to further explore how to take the Strategy back to your local efforts to prevent and end homelessness.

Presenter(s): Natalie Matthews, Associate, Abt Associates; Abby Miller, Senior SNAPS Specialist, HUD SNAPS

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Analyzing Systemic Racial Disparities With Statistical Learning Models and HMIS Data

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

Different populations experience homelessness—and risk factors of homelessness—differently. Understanding those differences and responding to clients’ vulnerabilities effectively requires nuance and precision. But how can CoCs identify subtle differences in large datasets? Recent advances in open-source software and computing languages, statistical learning, and data visualization tools have made the simultaneous analysis of millions of data points efficient and interpretable. This session will walk participants through a case study of how Pierce County, Washington, is integrating machine learning tools and methods into its HMIS analysis pipeline to inform a racial equity analysis of its Coordinated Entry system. After identifying a disparity in different subpopulations’ housing prioritization scores, the County used a statistical learning model to identify which Coordinated Entry assessment responses were predictive of a given race—and in turn, help guide future research and policymaking accordingly. Attendees will walk away with the tools they need to conduct similar analyses in their home institutions.

Presenter(s): Clayton Aldern, Pierce County Human Services

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Using Your LSA Data

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

In Winter 2018, HUD issued specifications for the Longitudinal System Analysis (LSA), formerly known as the AHAR. In this session, HMIS System Administrators and CoC representatives are invited to learn what will be available in the new LSA dataset. Presenters will illustrate how the data can be used to answer all the system performance questions you’ve been dying to understand and will set the stage for Part Two of the session, Using Data and System Modeling to Leverage Resources and Improve Your System.

Presenter(s): Julia Brown, Abt Associates

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Coordinated Entry Policies, Procedures, and Processes in Practice

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

This interactive workshop will explore how coordinated entry policies and procedures impact clients and frontline staff. Using actual policies and procedures from Missouri’s eight coordinated entry systems, workshop participants will navigate coordinated entry system policies and procedures in an experiential and scenario-based manner. Participants will learn the impact of policies/procedures on clients and frontline staff and will gain insight into the disparities that sometimes exist between paper policies and actual operation. Participants will be able to identify best practices in policies and procedures, identify opportunities for improvements, and discuss potential changes to existing or in-development coordinated entry policies and procedures. Participants should bring a copy of their CoCs coordinated entry policies and procedures to the session. A copy of the CoCs Written Standards may also be helpful.

Presenter(s): Kat Freeman, Cloudburst; Dustin Allen, Community Initiatives Coordinator, Missouri Housing Development Commission

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Let’s Open Up: About Data Management in a Shared Environment

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

The current need for data to make informed decisions at the CoC-level has never been more critical. However, many communities struggle with how to manage their data in an efficient environment. This session will discuss the core principles of efficient data management and highlight a successful community: Pima County, Arizona. Pima County was able to transform the way they manage their data to more efficiently provide services and operate their coordinated entry system, this session will detail how they did it.

Presenter(s):Chris Pitcher, Senior Technical Specialist, ICF; Pam Moseley, Program Coordinator, Pima County Community Services

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Using Emergency Shelter Data Modeling for Planning and Performance Measurement

April 17, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

A planning tool to help determine a right-sized number of family shelter beds will be demonstrated by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. The presentation will show how program managers can explore how changes to the system will affect bed numbers, or explore what other changes in the system such as number of new units, average time on a wait list if resources are not immediately available. The tool, developed in Tableau, can also be adapted for use in planning in Transitional Housing, Rapid Re-Housing, or Permanent Housing programs.

Presenter(s): Rachel Rue, Analyst, Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS)

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Opening Plenary – New Frontiers in Data

April 16, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

Communities know the homeless system can’t solve homelessness alone with current funding for housing interventions. Fortunately, HMIS data is beginning to reflect this knowledge and is moving beyond the HUD requirements and increasingly capturing and integrating in various ways with other services data. This plenary will discuss how HMIS data can both add to and learn from other systems data to help communities focus on the most vulnerable populations.

Presenter(s): Ann Marie Oliva, Senior Policy Advisor, CSH

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Preliminary Agenda is Here!

March 9, 2018 2018 Spring Conference

Good News! Preliminary Agenda is Here!

You’ve been asking, and we are delivering – here’s a sample of approved sessions that will be showcased at the NHSDC Spring 2018 conference.

  • HUD’s Vision for Data: Understanding and Measuring the SNAPS Data TA Strategy (2 parts)
  • Local Uses of System Performance Measurement Data
  • Using LSA Data to Dig Deep Into Your System’s Performance
  • Sharing Data across Systems to Prevent and End Youth and Family Homelessness
  • Social Determinants of Health: Creating a Multi-Agency Coordinated Care Hub for Homeless Adults
  • Promising Data Practices in Coordinated Entry Implementations – A Round Table Discussion
  • Let’s Open Up: About Data Management in a Shared Environment
  • Using Data Integration and Pay for Success to Advance Supportive Housing for Vulnerable Populations
  • Day Shelters and Data: Answer to Understanding and Ending Homelessness
  • HMIS 101 for New HMIS Leads & System Administrators
  • Victim Service Providers and Comparable Databases
  • Telling our Story: Tips for Choosing and Presenting Data for Decision-Making and Advocacy
  • Measuring the Impact of Natural Disasters on the Homeless System
  • A Practical Take on Improving HMIS Data Analysis and Evaluating Cross-Systems Data
  • BigBurgh.com: Successes and Challenges in building an online resource for individuals experiencing homelessness
  • Use Performance Data to Right-Size a Homeless System and Reach Functional Zero For All Populations
  • When CE Best Practices Don’t Work: Setting up CE in regions with closed and fragmented data systems
  • Vendor Contracts 101

…and MORE! Please stay tuned for our conference agenda and schedule to be released in late March.

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Spring 2018 Keynote Speaker: Ann Marie Oliva

March 7, 2018 2018 Spring Conference speakers

Registration for the Spring conference in Pittsburgh is now open. You may register for the conference itself and pre-conference activities at this time. Register here, and don’t forget to book your hotel room at the historic Omni William Penn Hotel in beautiful downtown Pittsburgh. The conference rate is a reasonable $159 per night. Please use this link or call 1-800-THE-OMNI (843-6664) to book your room. We usually sell out so advise reserving your room early!

Ann Marie Oliva to Provide Keynote

This just in: former HUD SNAPS leader Ann Oliva, now Senior Policy Advisor at CSH, will provide a keynote address at NHSDC‘s Spring Conference in Pittsburgh. Stay tuned for more exciting updates about the conference.
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