Representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s SNAPS Office will discuss the path forward for CoCs, from now to five years from now. An achievable vision where the majority of communities know if they are putting resources behind the most effective strategies. To know if homelessness is becoming more rare, brief, and non-reoccurring. We will talk about Stella, the Coordinated Entry APR, Comparable Databases and more.
Abby Miller, Senior Program Specialist, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Fran Ledger, Program Specialist, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Do you have questions about Stella, the Longitudinal Systems Analysis (LSA) report, or the HUDs FY 2020 HMIS Data Standards? Come to the Data Learning Lab where there will be Subject Matter Experts available to answer any questions you have, as well as to troubleshoot and discuss relevant issues.
Joyce MacAlpine, Abt
Meradith Alspaugh, The Partnership Center, Ltd
Mary Schwartz, Abt
Brian Roccapriore, Cloudburst
If you’re purely after facts, please buy yourself the phone directory of Manhattan. It has four million times correct facts. But it doesn’t illuminate.” ― Werner Herzog
It was not so long ago that the utility of the Homeless Management Information System could be summarized by the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR). For many, the aggregate results of the System Performance Measures (SPMs) represent a level of analysis our communities had not previously seen. SPMs have aided communities in developing an appreciation for the information that summary analytics can provide. They are so much more than we have ever had before and so it is easy to believe that those results are enough to develop informed policy and to declare decisions as being “data-driven.”
However, if you have tried to set policy in response to these metrics, you are likely very much aware that the SPMs are designed to tell HUD what they need to know as they work to understand homelessness across over 400 continuums. The SPMs are not designed to help your community understand its system and quickly make changes. By using a different HUD-standard dataset, though, you can learn to leverage data dashboards to provide your community with the information needed to understand, consume, and act in response to the data in your community.
Jesse Jorstead, Lead Data & Program Analyst, Snohomish County Human Services Department
Achieving goals for preventing and ending homelessness requires a commitment by CoC and HMIS leadership to use their data to optimize systems of care. This pre-institute will introduce the Stella Performance (P) module (key concepts, available data, and functionality), along with strategies for building a stronger performance culture within your community. It will draw on a ‘performance analysis and improvement framework’ to guide communities through 4 core steps for moving data into action using Stella P.
Sarah Kahn, Cloudburst
Joyce MacAlpine, Abt
A Data Quality Management Program (DQMP) is the effort to provide additional guidance, support and evaluation of local efforts to improve data quality. Part 2 of this session will be a skill-building workshop where participants will develop a local plan for creating their own DQMP.
Mike Lindsay, ICF
Chris Pitcher, ICF
A Data Quality Management Program (DQMP) is the effort to provide additional guidance, support and evaluation of local efforts to improve data quality. Part 1 of this session will focus on the elements of a Data Quality Management Program and will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss the challenges that they have encountered or anticipate encountering in implementing such a program locally.
Natalie Matthews, Abt
Mike Lindsay, ICF
What are effective practices to evaluate and monitor a Coordinated Entry (CE) system? This session will explore both requirements and promising practices for local CE monitoring and evaluation efforts, including sample monitoring tools and evaluation reports.
Joyce MacAlpine, Abt
Brian Roccapriore, Cloudburst
How can a Continuum of Care (CoC) make sure that they have the agreements and practices in place to increase data quality across its Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)? This expert-led working session will help participants develop strong data quality governance agreements, benchmarks, and monitoring practices.
Chris Pitcher, ICF
Natalie Matthews, Abt
How do Continuums of Care (CoCs) ensure that they have an effective contract with their Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) software provider? This session will review the key components of a contract, the skills necessary to effectively negotiate an agreement, and strategies to hold the HMIS software provider accountable under such contracts.
Heather Dillashaw, Lead Homeless Services Specialist, ICF Internation
Mary Schwartz, Abt
What does it take to successfully manage a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)? This session will detail the key tasks and skills of an HMIS team and provide a template calendar to highlight the responsibilities of this role.
Mary Schwartz, Abt
Heather Dillashaw, Lead Homeless Services Specialist, ICF Internation
What are common challenges when completing project-set up in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)? This session will review advanced project set-up topics, and provide solutions to address common issues.
Joan Domenech, CSH
Meradith Alspaugh, The Partnership Center, Ltd.
What is project-set up in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)? This session will detail the project set-up requirements and best practices across all Federal Partners that utilize HMIS.
Brian Roccapriore, Cloudburst
Joan Domenech, CSH
The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) within HHS oversees the Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) Program and RHY-HMIS. Many RHY grantees use data every day to inform their decision-making to best serve homeless youth and young adults, as well as to collaborate, evaluate and fundraise. Data are essential to supporting these efforts at the federal level as well. In 2019, FYSB released the RHY-HMIS Data Dashboard, a tool for data visualizations and report filtering on grantee-, regional-, state- and national-level RHY data generated from HMIS. How does FYSB utilize data on behalf of homeless youth overall? How does a homeless youth service provider utilize data in its efforts in serving their youth and young adults? What takeaways are there for other service agencies? is targeted towards homeless service grantees, CoC members, HMIS Leads and administrators, youth partner organizations and HMIS vendors.
John McGah, Senior TA Specialist, American Instititutes for Research (AIR)
Resa Matthew, Ph.D., Director, Division of Adolescent Development & Support, FYSB/ACF/HHS
Liz Schoenfeld, Ph.D., Director of Research and Evaluation, LifeWorks Austin
Social service organizations are no strangers to data. However, much of the data that agencies collect is designed to satisfy external stakeholders and is largely shaped by funder requirements and contract compliance. Because of the disproportionate amount of time and attention that is devoted to meeting their reporting requirements, organizations spend considerably less time analyzing their data in ways that would allow them to better understand their clients, refine their programs, or measure their social impact. During this workshop, participants will learn about the complexities (and benefits) of building a learning culture, and how organizations’ internal capacity, infrastructure, executive leadership, and funders collectively impact their ability to leverage data in meaningful ways. In addition to providing attendees with concrete recommendations and opportunities for discussion, the presenters will show selected segments of Failing Forward: On the Road to Social Impact, a short documentary on this topic.
Susan McDowell, CEO, LifeWorks
Kate Robinson, Executive Producer, Failing Foward
Communicating data for impact is about sharing your data so that it engages your stakeholders while driving long-lasting change. It is the last step in the HMIS reporting chain but it may be the most important, as it serves to motivate and inspire your stakeholders. During this session we will cover 1) understanding how to frame your message to inspire action, using proven data communication strategies; and 2) knowing how to convey your data using data visualization and complementary data engagement approaches. We will review how to define your target audience, how to craft your message, and how to tailor your data communication approach to meet your objectives. We will examine data visualization best practices so that you can design data-driven communications that are effective and engaging. We will discuss how to minimize audience biases and protect your published data from misuse. A resource guide will be provided!
Andrea Miller Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) Homeless Texas Network SAFE Alliance
Victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking have specific security and safety concerns. Data collection processes developed to comply with HUD CoC or Emergency Solutions Grants program requirements must be carefully planned, implemented, and evaluated regularly – the safety and privacy of survivors depend upon it. This training will highlight best practices for Comparable Database record retention, data entry practices and an overview of HUD Universal Data Elements. Required reporting will also be discussed.
During this session an attorney from Confidentiality Institute and a TA provider from National Network to End Domestic Violence will discuss the requirements of the comparable databases. The goal is to help participants understand what to consider when selecting a Comparable Database for HUD-funded victim service providers in order to be in compliance with HUD and the Violence Against Women Act and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act.
No vendors will be endorsed but HUD and VAWA requirements will be highlighted.
Alicia Aiken, Director, Confidentiality Institute
Debbie Fox, Senior Housing Policy & Practice Specialist, NNEDV
As HUD CoC funding increases with the domestic and sexual violence set aside for programs serving survivors, confidentiality, safety, and data challenges have surfaced for victim service providers and HMIS leads. This session provides an opportunity to hear about best practices locally, statewide, and nationally from a Comparable Database and HMIS leaders in Texas (Austin and Texas statewide) and national technical assistance providers. Conference attendees will participate in a facilitated conversation to discuss key roles for collecting and integrating data into the conversation. Key areas of conversation include: protecting data privacy, building relationships across victim service providers, homeless service providers, state domestic violence coalitions and Continuum of Cares, asking sensitive questions, data sharing and receiving consent, reporting aggregate level data to HMIS leads, Comparable Database technical assistance and training for victim service providers, cross-system coordination, and survivor-centered coordinated entry.
Debbie Fox, Senior Housing Policy & Practice Specialist
Laura Evanoff, LCSW-S, CoC Performance & Monitoring & T.A. Manager, ECHO
Molly Voyles, Public Policy Manager, Texas Council on Family Violence
Preston Petty, Coordinated Entry Program Director
Sophia Checa, Director of Continuum of Care Programs
Erin Goodison, Senior Director of Housing
Get an overview of the HUD CoC Analysis Tool: Race and Ethnicity and the race and ethnicity analysis shown in Stella P. Hear how Washington State has adapted the HUD CoC Analysis Tool for use at a county level. Finally, hear a case study of a community that has used these tools to identify a disparity in who experiences homelessness in their community compared to who accesses homeless housing programs, and how they plan to address that disparity.
Stephanie Reinauer, Associate, Abt Associates Inc.
Jayme Khoo, Analytics and Visualization Manager, Washington State Department of Commerce
Katie Sly, Data Analytics Manager, Opportunity Council
The Coordinated Entry System (CES) is a major component of every Continuum of Care’s plan to address homelessness. Every CES utilizes a screening tool to assess for vulnerability, using indicators known to contribute to homelessness such as physical and behavioral health, socioeconomic status, and barriers to housing to generate a score that prioritizes households for various housing interventions, including permanent supportive housing services.
We present a racial equity analysis designed to examine the potential for assessment tools to perpetuate racial inequities in the homeless system. We pose two primary research questions:
1. Are White people more likely to be prioritized into permanent housing compared to BIPOC?
2. Are there variables or methods within assessment tools that can be used to determine vulnerability, and thus housing needs, more equitably?
This session describes methodology for determining whether a CES assessment tool may be perpetuating racial inequities, discusses implications for policy, practice, and research, and makes recommendations for communities and national stakeholders to use CES data to inform further examination and transformation of the CES assessment process.
Catriona Wilkey, Deputy Director of Research & Evaluation, C4 Innovations
C4 Innovations Regina Cannon, Chief Equity and Impact Officer, C4 Innovations
Communities across the country are increasing their focus and investment on addressing youth homelessness. Initiatives such as 100-Day Challenges help catalyze community action to reimagine existing systems and to establish bold, creative, and innovative strategies for preventing and ending youth homelessness, including through data-driven decision-making. 100-Day Challenge communities have used data and technology to catalyze change within the youth homeless response system through multiple approaches, including improved data collection and tracking, data sharing, new coordinated entry processes, and refined HMIS data utilization strategies.
The audience will learn how 100-Day Challenge communities are utilizing data-driven decision-making to achieve success in identifying youth experiencing homelessness, making connections to appropriate housing and services, and forging new cross-systems partnerships with data sharing. This presentation will highlight the important role of data in Sacramento’s incredible work to house 266 youth during their 100-Day Challenge and in the community’s ongoing work to address youth homelessness.
Alicia Lehmer, Policy Analyst, Homebase
Peter Bell, Associate Director for Program Sustainability, Wind Youth Services
This session will draw upon data from the AHAR, SSVF Annual Report and Dennis Culhane about the aging homeless population to describe current national trends in homelessness demographics and gauge impacts the crisis response system. For race/ethnicity, presenters will share data illustrating disparities in who experiences homelessness and receives services.
Mark Silverbush, Associate, Abt Associates
Mary Schwartz, Associate, Abt Associates
This session will walk participants through the evolution of DCHS’s homeless response system dashboards – from a series of disconnected visuals to a streamlined story. We will share lessons learned and best practices from our experience working with design organizations and community stakeholders as well as developing new methods for analyzing homelessness data. We will provide guidance for other communities getting started with their own dashboards and offer solutions for addressing potential barriers along the way.
Sarah Argodale, Project/Program Manager, King County DCHS
Data collected through a community’s Coordinated Entry system presents opportunities for understanding how the system functions and who it’s working (or not working) for. But without good tools that help communities ask questions and get clear answers, that data can go unused. This session will offer lessons from Minnesota’s experience in developing a data dashboard for Coordinated Entry System data. Presenters will introduce the dashboard, demonstrate how it’s populated with HMIS data, and discuss how Minnesota’s stakeholders use the dashboard – including how they problem-solve when confronted with limitations or challenges in the process. Participants will then have an opportunity to practice designing a dashboard with Coordinated Entry data and facilitating conversations that lead to important system-level insights.
We encourage everyone involved in Coordinated Entry, as well as all those interested in learning about Coordinated Entry through an HMIS data lens, to participate in this session.
Emily Salvaterra, Data Analyst, Institute for Community Alliances
Amy Olsen-Highness, Manager, System Administration, Institute for Community Alliances
As part of the broader federal strategy to end homelessness in the United States, the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) supports the development of coordinated community responses and innovative programming to effectively end youth homelessness by 2020. To support these efforts, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) developed a set of benchmarks and criteria to assess communities’ progress toward making youth homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring. But how do communities interpret these guidelines, operationalize them, and use them to guide their day-to-day work? In this workshop, representatives of Austin/Travis County’s YHDP will share their successes and challenges aligning the benchmarks with their local HMIS, and how these experiences impacted the revision of their coordinated community plan, as well as their ongoing efforts to monitor their performance and engage in continuous quality improvement.
Dr. Liz Schoenfeld, Chief Research Officer, LifeWorks
Melissa Wheeler, HMIS Director, Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO)
While CoCs use Point-in-Time (PIT) counts for local planning purposes, these data cannot always inform communities on higher-level questions needed for real system change. Following several years of flat or increasing PIT counts of unaccompanied individuals, the District of Columbia CoC began to look at system inflow and causation but needed better data to understand the specific drivers of homelessness locally. In 2019 the CoC implemented a supplemental, more qualitative survey with its PIT Count — the “PIT Plus” – which was administered to a sample of individuals to understand: 1) what led to their experience(s) of homelessness, 2) what could have prevented it, and 3) where could the CoC have intervened sooner. This session will cover how and with whom the District’s CoC determined its methodology, the survey results, and how the CoC will use the lessons learned in its strategic planning and future program development.
Tom Fredericksen, Chief of Policy and Programs, The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness
Hersh Gupta, Data Scientist, District of Columbia Department of Human Services
Elisabeth Young, Analyst, The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness
How we present data to the public is always changing. Thanks to smartphones, folks now have an average of 7 seconds to gain someone’s attention, so we must strive to be instantly visually appealing. Data storytelling is the key to engage audiences; driving them to learn more about the data we present.
During this session we will talk about how data consumption has changed and how, as data storytellers, we need to present data in a meaningful way. Whether you are creating a one-pager for a fundraising campaign, distilling Point-in-Time count information, or communicating local data quality efforts, a thoughtful infographic may help folks quickly consume your data.
Learn the difference between data visualizations and infographics and when you should use each. We will go into detail on what makes a great infographic, some different types of infographics, and how to present your data in an engaging and eye-catching way.
Kendall Shawhan, Data & Program Analyst, Snohomish County
Stephanie Patterson, Data & Program Analyst, Snohomish County
Since 2014, the Columbus-Muscogee, Georgia CoC has weathered significant local challenges, including shifts in HMIS implementation and Collaborative Applicant, as well as the development of a new CoC governance model. In the midst of these challenges, the CoC also prioritized the development of a local coordinated entry system that leveraged existing technology (HMIS) and resources (United Way’s 2-1-1). This was not a straightforward or easy effort, particularly since some local providers were very hesitant to trust this new way of working and prior to the launch of this effort there was no local data sharing. Come hear directly from leadership of the Collaborative Applicant and HMIS Lead Agency about how they were able to successfully utilize both HMIS and 2-1-1 for coordinated entry, what lessons they’ve learned along the way, and what suggestions they have for CoCs looking to do the same.
Pat Fry, Executive Director, Home for Good
Natalie Matthews, Associate, Abt Associates Inc.
“How did I create that? Is this accurate? Could someone else recreate this report or visualization and get the same results?”
Adopting a reproducible data analysis workflow is important for presenting credible and verifiably accurate data results. With free and open source tools, you can regularly create reproducible data analysis that looks amazing and is easily shared.
R Markdown combines narrative and chunks of code to generate both text and graphical results. Any R Markdown document can refer to any number of data sources and combine them gracefully into one analysis, shareable via HTML, PDF, or Word.
The basic principles of a reproducible data analysis workflow will be covered, including ways in which the more academic definition of “reproducible research” must be slightly limited for our purposes since we are working with more sensitive data.
Genelle Denzin, HMIS Data Analyst, she/her/hers, Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO)
In Austin, ECHO and Social Finance are working with the City of Austin, Travis County, Central Health, and several other entities to use the Pay for Success financing model to launch a 250-unit Permanent Supportive Housing program. The AT Home program targets Austinites experiencing chronic homelessness who are frequently involved with the criminal justice system and who utilize emergency medical services. Targeted outcomes include housing stability, reductions in jail bookings and jail days, and reductions in inpatient and emergency department utilization. Program components include data matches between ECHO’s HMIS system, the local healthcare information exchange, and the Travis County jail system, and a rigorous evaluation including quasi-experimental and process components. (more…)
In 2017, Austin/Travis County, Texas, was one of the first 10 communities in the United States selected to be a Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program site. Over the past two years, the local CoC and service providers have been working diligently to bring youth homelessness in Austin to functional zero by 2020—in other words, ensuring that youth homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring. In this plenary presentation, attendees will learn about the innovative programming solutions that Austin implemented through the YHDP, as well as how local partners have leveraged data to guide the design of their programs and their day-to-day decision-making. Attendees will receive concrete recommendations for how they can “listen” to their data to refine their programs and better serve youth experiencing homelessness.
Susan McDowell, CEO, LifeWorks
Erin Whelan, Senior Division Director of Housing and Homeless Services, LifeWorks
Liz Schoenfeld, Ph.D., Director of Research and Evaluation, LifeWorks
Call for Conference Session Proposals
NHSDC Fall 2019 Call for Conference Session proposals
Theme: Solving Problems and Impacting Communities With Data.
The National Human Services Data Consortium (NHSDC) is requesting session proposals for the 2019 Fall Conference in Austin, Texas, on October 15-17, 2019. We are looking for speakers who are excited to share their human services data experiences and expertise with attendees from across the country.
Following this year’s theme, Solving Problems and Impacting Communities With Data, NHSDC is looking for session proposals that continue to move the bar forward on addressing the challenges our communities face. We want presenters to show how a strong data culture is the key to informing local and federal policies, helping to tackle persistent community challenges and laying the foundation for collaboration across different sectors. We want to learn how your creative solutions are impacting lives today and enhancing human services programming for the future.
NHSDC welcomes session proposals that demonstrate proficiency in technical application, leadership, collaboration, implementation, innovations and best practices. For reference, session descriptions and presentations from earlier NHSDC Conferences are available here: https://nhsdc.org/conferences/.
Topic ideas for conference sessions include:
Community Problem Solving: Community leaders, service providers and administrators alike must always think outside the box for creative solutions to their specific issues and community challenges. Challenges involving data, system performance, privacy and security, funding allocations, population growth, housing availability, system integration and a whole host of other issues are common in every community. What tools and processes are you using to address and resolve some of the more difficult problems in your community?
Collaboration: Collaboration is essential to building strong foundations that affect the community. Getting input and feedback from all the stakeholders helps bring about effective implementation strategies in human services. Projects increase the impact of their information exponentially when they effectively collaborate with other data oriented projects. Sessions in this area should explore real strategies for the dissemination of data across multiple sectors and the coordination of these efforts.
Technical Applications: Show us how technology is being used to collect and tell the stories of your data. Sessions in this area should demonstrate specific uses of technology that have increased the skill sets or capacity to serve within a community. Your audience should walk away with applicable skills to enhance the utilization of human service data systems.
Note: NHSDC Conference attendees represent communities of all sizes and systems of varying levels of sophistication. Sessions that address issues common to any city, as well as the concerns of very small or vast communities, should contain practical information that attendees can apply to their environments.
Please prepare and submit proposals online at: https://forms.gle/R1u2FGpyWRtviNPZ6
by the deadline – 9:00 PM (EDT) on June 26, 2019.
To prepare for your online submission, please have the following information:
Session Title: 100 Character Maximum
Description: Descriptions should be a concise, narrative description of the content and purpose of the proposed session. Maximum Word Count: 350
Audience and Learning Objectives: Learning objectives that are action-oriented and concisely communicate what you want the audience to learn.
Presenters & Bios: All proposals must include a paragraph that discusses the experience of each speaker (please include names, titles, and organization affiliation in 300 words or less).
Session Contact Information: Please include presenter’s telephone and email contact information. If the proposal consists of a panel or multiple presenters, please identify the individual that will serve as the primary contact for the conference planning committee.
The Conference Committee anticipates notifying successful proposers on July 16, 2019.
Final presentation materials will be due by September 16, 2019.
How does a Continuum of Care (CoC) effectively govern its local Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)? This session will detail the elements of HMIS governance including HMIS-CoC governance agreement(s), CoC-level data management committee(s), regional and statewide governance models and the role of the CoC membership and Board in HMIS management and oversight.
Presenter(s): Leah Rainey, Senior Community Development Specialist and Mike Lindsay, ICF
How do Continuums of Care (CoCs) ensure that they have an effective contract with their Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) software provider? This session will review the key components of a contract, the skills necessary to negotiate an agreement, and strategies to hold the HMIS software provider accountable under such contracts.
Presenter(s): Mary Schwartz, Abt; Ryan Burger, ICF
How do communities develop targeted, actionable and engaging communications about their data? This session provides an overview of basic audience engagement strategies and how to couple them with data storytelling and develop a local Communications Plan.
Presenter(s): George Martin, Policy Analyst, Homebase; Jamie Taylor, The Cloudburst Group
How can the newly released Stella Performance Module be used to evaluate your system to address homelessness? This session will provide an orientation to the Performance Management (PM) module in Stella, including key concepts, available data, and functionality for system evaluation and planning.
Presenter(s): Stephanie Reinauer and Joyce Probst MacAlpine, Senior Associate, Abt
Federal partners across the government rely on HMIS data to inform policy and programmatic decisions. Speakers from HUD, USICH, ACF, and the VA will outline their strategic partnerships and show how they use HMIS data.
Presenter(s): Abbilyn Miller, Senior Program Specialist, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; John Kuhn, National Director, SSVF, US Department of Veterans Affairs; Resa Matthews, Director, Division of Adolescent Development and Support, Family and Youth Services Bureau; Susan Pourciau, Policy Director, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness; Kim Keaton, Director of Data & Analytics, CSH/NHSDC Board 2019 Vice Chair (Moderator)
Recording of session livestream is available here.
How is homelessness defined, how is it measured and what resources and strategies are available to end it? This session will provide an overview of the homeless services field including the federal definitions of homelessness, expectations for measuring homelessness and the context that our local Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) operate within.
Presenter(s): Gordon Sullivan, Program Manager, Collaborative Solutions; Joan Domenech, Program Manager, CSH
This session is for CoC leadership and will explore how to use system performance data in conjunction with other data sources and data reports to identify factors contributing to performance results. Attendees will learn how to create a performance analysis plan to identify system- and project- level strengths and barriers.
Presenter(s): Joyce Probst MacAlpine, Senior Associate, Abt; Sarah Kahn, The Cloudburst Group
Understanding the homeless system performance. Focus Strategies regularly assists communities with efforts to measure performance and understand outcomes in relation to system planning efforts, drawing upon HUD’s system performance metrics and other strategies that call upon local data to understand performance. This session will focus on how communities may take a holistic, action-oriented approach to performance analysis through a specific set of metrics and strategies. It will address how these approaches provide an opportunity to integrate the investigation of disparities that exist in communities’ homeless response systems, while also considering local housing market conditions. Drawing upon a comprehensive list of performance measures (including those developed by HUD and Focus Strategies), we will illustrate how each metric illuminates different system elements and how they work cohesively to reveal patterns within the system. Focus Strategies will present community examples and discuss how analytic approaches are used to identify indicators of high-performing programs. We will illustrate how communities may apply these strategies to identify specific programs to target for improvement. This holistic approach to performance measures enables communities to identify a defined course of action in efforts to reduce homelessness. Further, as the prevalence of racial and ethnic disparities in access to and utilization of homeless system interventions continue to be of concern, communities are encouraged to address racial inequities in their system analyses and planning efforts. Our session will address how suggested performance measures and analytic approaches may help communities identify and tackle disparities at different points in the system – including system access and program utilization. We will draw attention to key considerations in data interpretation (e.g., how to avoid drawing the wrong conclusion), as well as implications for system level policy development of different patterns of findings. As tightening housing market conditions increasingly affect communities’ systemic responses to homelessness, Focus Strategies has assisted several communities in interpreting local housing market data in relation to homeless system planning efforts and goals. Our presentation will incorporate emerging housing market analytics, community examples, as well as methods for interpreting findings to determine best-fit strategies for reducing homelessness.
Presenter(s): Tracy Bennett, Director of Analytics and Evaluation, Michael Hatch, Analytics Consultant, and Genevieve Williamson, Chief Analyst, Focus Strategies
The planning process for conducting an accurate point in time homeless count in larger regions such as Texas Balance of State, King County, and Dallas can be a daunting undertaking. Like any large project, it is often best to break this work down into manageable tasks and to use lessons learned by others to help inform the process. During this session, we will provide an overview of how open source and free tools can be utilized alongside both open and private data sets to inform the entire count process. Topics to be covered will include recruiting volunteers, using historical data to establish count routes, creating balanced count teams, monitoring the count, establishing a sampling and enumeration methodology (if needed), and using open source tools such as QGIS and Tableau, and using open data sets such as US Census and the HUD GIS Tools to analyze the data for racial disparities.
Presenter(s): Eddie Barber, Lead Developer, Simtech Solutions Inc.; Danielle Winslow, Acting Deputy Director, All Home King County; Kristin Zakoor, Assistant Director of Data, Texas Homeless Network
Last year our five Seasonal Night by Night Emergency Shelters entered over 60,000 individual nights of shelter into HMIS totaling nearly 400,000 nights over the last 6 seasons. This presentation will share the successful visualizations that inspired shelter staff to take ownership of their data and act on behalf of their clients. We will also include a few visualizations that fell flat. From data quality to coordinated entry, data visualization is not just for funders but can become a crucial tool helping shelter staff, case managers and agencies make sense out of this voluminous and rich data set for the benefit of their clients. Examples will include line graphs, bar charts, GANTT charts, scatter plots, integrating NOAA data, charting race and ethnicity, and finding other meaningful client sets beyond demographics. In terms of knowing your audience, we will share anecdotes of knowing this particular audience and how crucial their feedback can be. In each case, we will show how the visualizations lead shelter staff to OWN their data and ACT for their clients.
Presenter(s): Jeremy Heyboer, Data Quality Manager and Lead Trainer, Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County
Statistical and machine-learning tools leveraged from the data science community are critical to an organization’s ability to accurately report all populations served. It allows the question, “how many clients were served last year?” to be answered, a basic but often impossible task using HMIS alone. Rhode Island’s Continuum of Care will serve as an example in describing the problem associated with reliance on HMIS for data reporting.
From afar, one might imagine a coordinated network of service providers who seamlessly manage a single database. From this imagined database, reports could be pulled that provide information about all clients served, across and within programs. Dashboards could be created that show the number of people in shelter, or the number of chronically homeless in a CoC. Right now, HMIS is this imaginary database.
HMIS has a high barrier to entry, and as a result, its data is often not comprehensive of the homeless population within a CoC or sometimes even within a single provider. Programs who are not required to use HMIS have little incentive to do so, resulting in their clients missing from HMIS-based analyses. Other programs simply cannot exclusively use HMIS, such as those serving protected populations (i.e. domestic violence programs) or those who also serve the non-homeless (i.e. managed properties).
The near-ubiquity of HMIS facilitates within-CoC standardization and collaborative longitudinal tracking, but its omnipresence may lead to systematic bias resulting in under-reporting of marginalized and at-risk homeless populations. This beginner-level presentation will describe the field of service providers in Rhode Island’s CoC – all of the places that interface with people broadly experiencing homelessness – and the range of databases and reporting methods each uses. The goal is to identify the places where data is being lost and to recognize the impact of this on individual populations.
Presenter(s): Elizabeth McDonnell, Data Scientist, Crossroads
What are the various mediums for publishing information related to Continuum of Care (CoC) activities and progress in ending homelessness? This session will include tips on how to develop messages for each media type, developing relationships with journalists, editorial boards, and use of active social media sites.
Presenter(s): Susan Starrett, Associate Director for Federal TA, CSH; Andrea Miller, The Cloudburst Group
Communities cannot achieve the goal of ending homelessness without proactively addressing the impact of historical and ongoing institutionalized discrimination in housing practices. But in order to adopt strategic frameworks that place equity at their center, communities must understand how to measure inequities currently present in their homelessness systems. This session will share experiences from Your Way Home’s racial equity evaluation with SPARC / The Center for Social Innovation, which blended analysis of quantitative HMIS data, focus groups with homeless service recipients, and interviews with provider staff. Insights from this evaluation (Phase I report forthcoming) have been and will continue to inform future strategic decisions as Your Way Home works to build a more equitable homeless system. The session will demonstrate how a community can investigate HMIS data at the system and project level for areas of inequity in performance across racial, ethnic, gender and age groups. This includes but is not limited to analyses of the general community’s population as compared to the population of individuals served by the homeless system; coordinated entry (triage/ assessment, street outreach, etc.); project enrollment and exit trends; length of stay trends; and geographic mapping of housing placements.
Presenter(s): Greg Barchuk, Your Way Home Montgomery County
The planning process for conducting an accurate point in time homeless count in larger regions such as Texas Balance of State, King County, and Dallas can be a daunting undertaking. Like any large project, it is often best to break this work down into manageable tasks and to use lessons learned by others to help inform the process. During this session, we will provide an overview of how open source and free tools can be utilized alongside both open and private data sets to inform the entire count process. Topics to be covered will include recruiting volunteers, using historical data to establish count routes, creating balanced count teams, monitoring the count, establishing a sampling and enumeration methodology (if needed), and using open source tools such as QGIS and Tableau. Also, we will cover using open data sets such as the US Census and the HUD GIS Tools to analyze the data for racial disparities.
Presenter(s): Sasha Caine, Staff Attorney; Nora Lally, Policy Analyst, HomeBase