We’re pleased to present the Program for this Falls’s NHSDC Conference in Portland happening on October 17th and 18th.
For a complete rundown of this information-packed event, please download the Program Booklet by clicking Download File below.
Advanced Approaches to System Modeling
This session will be an in-depth review of HUD’s new SPIST Optimizing System Strategies (OSS) system modeling process to model the inventory needed to meet the needs of all households experiencing homelessness with support for transitioning from the current system to the desired system using the SPIST OSS module.
Plenary: Beyond Risk Stratification: Why Understanding Population Segments Is the Future of Stratification
“Central City Concern, a nonprofit providing comprehensive solutions to ending homelessness and achieving self-sufficiency, has developed an innovative population segmentation framework. The framework has been used to predict hospitalizations, target specific clients with tailored interventions, and guide the redesign of systems of care. The framework divides our population into 19 subgroups, each of which describes a set of intersecting needs. By focusing on clients’ needs, rather than on the abstract concept of risk, the framework can help drive both clinical decision-making and systems redesign.
Capacity Building for HMIS Leads and System Administrators
Capacity building is about making investments in people and supporting their work. This session will explore what activities communities can do to develop HMIS leadership and how HMIS Lead Agency staff can be supported through ongoing engagement and training, professional development opportunities, and the implementation of a strategic approach for building capacity and leadership across HMIS Leads and System Administrators. Ryan Burger, Technical Specialist – ICF; Mike Lindsay, Senior Technical Specialist – ICF “Ryan Burger, Technical Specialist – ICF. Ryan Burger has ten years of experience in CoC and HMIS management and implementation. At ICF, Ryan provides technical assistance to CoCs on HMIS governance and data sharing, coordinated entry processes, systems planning and implementation and CoC governance. Ryan has developed expertise across a wide range of management, operational and policy areas, and currently chairs the HMIS Lead Mini Team, which is responsible for developing tools and resources to support the work of HMIS Leads and System Administrators. Prior to joining ICF, Ryan worked in a large Continuum of Care conducting data analysis and program evaluation and providing leadership in HMIS development and implementation.
Confronting Data Related Barriers in Youth Homelessness Initiatives
Ending homelessness among youth and young adults will require unique approaches to collecting and sharing data. This presentation will provide an overview of data-related challenges in the recent HUD-sponsored 100 Day Challenges to end youth homelessness, including collecting sensitive data from young clients, privacy issues in serving unaccompanied minors, and barriers in sharing data across social services systems. One CoC will present on how they confronted these challenges. Implementations, Innovations, and Best Practices Beginner to Intermediate “After attending, the audience will have an understanding of:
Cross-system partnerships to prevent and end homelessness
How can data from other systems enhance system planning? An effective system approach to preventing and ending homelessness requires cross-system coordination. Data from mainstream systems (ex. Veterans, child welfare, criminal justice, education, Medicaid) can illuminate system dynamics of the crisis response system and facilitate coordination of resources. This is a challenging and sometimes daunting task. In this session, participants will hear about how communities have used data to drive coordination, collaboration, and joint-system planning.
Data Quality 101: What is a Data Quality Plan?
This session will focus on building and improving local competencies in data quality. This session will go back to the core and basics of data quality and is designed for new HMIS Leads or those new to data quality management. The focus of this session will be to provide participants with a solid foundational understanding of what data quality is in the context of HMIS, how HUD and federal partners measure data quality, and what the roles are of HMIS Leads, CoC staff, and HMIS vendors in ensuring that their local system’s data is accurate, timely and complete. This session will also focus on the elements of a data quality plan, the suggested process to develop such a plan, and key indicators to identify if your plan has successfully been implemented.
Data Quality 201: Bed Coverage and Strategies to Improve the community experience
This session will focus on how Bed Coverage rates reflect the percentage of homeless assistance beds in a community that are actively participating in HMIS. The session will focus on why the ability to have high or complete bed coverage rates is critical, as it empowers a community to more confidently state that their HMIS data truly reflects their local system of care for persons experiencing homelessness. One of the more challenging aspects of data quality can be improving local bed coverage rates, particularly for projects that are not funded to participate in HMIS. During the session participants will hear first-hand from communities (including Alaska and Idaho) that have successfully improved local bed coverage rates, and will walk away with strategies for how they too can tackle this challenge.
Data-driven Interpretation of Chronic Status: Understanding Inflow, Outflow, and Utilization Patterns
Boston’s Data Warehouse has reached a level of technical sophistication that allows data-driven classification of clients as chronically homeless. This enables more precise and objective distribution of housing resources but also limits our definition of chronic status to patterns of shelter utilization captured in our data. This session will propose best practices/ methods for understanding, visualizing, and analyzing longitudinal client history data, will acknowledge setbacks, and will propose ways forward.
Diversify the Resources: Leveraging Multiple Funding Streams to Improve Your HMIS Implementation
The strongest HMIS implementations are supported financially by multiple funding streams, including CoC, ESG, HOPWA, CDBG, PATH, RHY, SSBG, CSBG, VA, or other state, local, and private resources. Communities can strengthen the viability of their implementation, improve system performance, and reduce risk by diversifying HMIS funding. Attendees will learn the value of diversified funding through the example of the Southern Nevada CoC, where multiple funding streams have improved HMIS capacity. Matt Olsson, Staff Attorney, HomeBase & Catherine Huang Hara, Senior Management Analyst, Clark County (NV) Social Service “Matt Olsson, Staff Attorney, HomeBase (HUD Technical Assistance Provider): Matt Olsson is a Staff Attorney for HomeBase, a nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to the social problem of homelessness and based in San Francisco, CA. Matt provides HUD technical assistance to communities nationwide on CoC requirements; program design, implementation, and operation; program- and system-level evaluation; strategic planning; and, the planning, development, and implementation of coordinated entry systems.
Ending Chronic Homelessness – Are we there yet?
Many communities have set goals to end chronic homelessness. Defining “steady state” can often be a challenge, especially with population and service need changes. This session will cover how one community is using data to predict the possible end to chronic homelessness. A review of the coordinated entry system will be covered as well as how refinement helped to better identify the most vulnerable within the population. You will also learn how persistent and coordinated outreach and case consultations was used to prevent individuals from falling through the cracks. Finally, the session will cover how partners are held accountable to this intensive housing process.
HMIS – How to engage your community
HMIS usage is critical to show the true need in a community. In addition, data transparency is essential when making decisions around resource allocation and how much of each intervention is needed in your system. Reviewing project performance and its impact on system performance is also a crucial part of data management. Over the past 10 years, there have been great strides made within the HMIS user community. Despite this there is still hesitation amongst non-HUD funded agencies to use the system. This session will cover HMIS best practices, how users from various projects came together to develop HMIS policies and standards. Information will be provided on how to keep partners engaged as well as recruit new partners. There will also be a review on the use of HMIS reports for NOFA scoring.
HMIS Lead Standards
HMIS Lead Agencies sit at the critical intersection between CoC leadership, end users, and vendors. As a result, HMIS Leads must have expertise across training, policy, operational, and reporting domains. This session will review the requirements of HMIS Leads and best practices that HMIS Leads have taken to leveraging their capacity and core functions across tasks, and will share management approaches that can help HMIS Leads work smarter and faster.
HMIS Training 101: Thinking Outside the Box
A 215 county coverage area, 250+ HMIS end users, and an HMIS team of three. This was the Texas Balance of State. Add a monthly stream of new HMIS users and a state-wide Coordinated Entry implementation, and the BoS faced unique training challenges. We’ll walk through training models we tried to fit our CoC’s needs and constraints. We’ll also share strategies and tools for training an effective, motivated HMIS user-base.
Homelessness and Medicaid Use: The Impact of Housing and Services
The NJ Department of Community Affairs and Monarch Housing Associates will share findings from the Rutgers State Health Policy study on the impact that moving homeless individuals into affordable housing with services can have on lowering Medicaid spending. The project and the findings demonstrate the critical importance of engaging research institutions, key state agencies and planners working to end homelessness. The partners will share what they have learned to date.
Identifying Systems Upstream that Lead to the Inflow of Homeless Veterans
Through the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from at least 17 communities, Community Solutions seeks to identify trends around upstream generators of veteran homelessness. Afterward, we will develop and test interventions alongside community leaders that reduce the inflow of homeless veterans to the point where it exceeds outflow, placing communities on track to ending homelessness. We hope to share the design and preliminary findings of our research.
Implementing and Operating a Coordinated Entry Project
This session provides an opportunity for HMIS Lead Agencies, technical support, and training staff to learn about the Coordinated Entry (CE) project. Presenters will guide participants through setting up a CE project in HMIS or other local data collection system. They will also discuss HUD-defined CE data elements, explain how to create a valid data collection process and present HUD-recommended policies for data collection of a CE project.
Implementing effective contract negotiation and relationship management strategies 201
“This session will take the audience through the contract negotiation and relationship management process to ensure successful incorporation of measurable and achievable features and functionality of data systems for capturing human services. Implement scopes of work that can make the difference between a successful vendor-lead relationship and one that struggles to meet basic software and reporting needs. Community perspectives will be provided, as will templates and other useful tools.
Investigating Racial Disparities in the Homeless System and Considering Implications for Policy
We will address steps communities can consider when assessing whether and where racial disparities appear in their system, and if they do, implications for system level policy development. As we illustrate the different ways to investigate disparities, 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.
Knowledge At First Sight: A Data Visualization Clinic
The HMIS data viz clinic will provide a framework for planning, designing, and deploying engaging HMIS visualizations and dashboards. We’ll focus on core data viz principles including audience targeting; how to incorporate best practices such as choices regarding layout, charts, and palettes; and how to improve visualizations through community feedback. We’ll then apply these principles as we review, assess, praise or scrutinize published dashboards – revealing hits, misses, and lessons learned.
Linking housing program and social service data to improve client services
Since 2010, the Washington State Department of Commerce and Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) have collaborated in linking HMIS data with social service program administrative data. This collaboration allows Washington state to explore the relationship between homelessness, client characteristics, housing outcomes, and other outcomes. Furthermore, linking with non-HMIS data systems provides the state additional information on housing outcomes for non-HMIS populations.
Longitudinal Systems Analysis: Digging Deeper into System Performance by Populations and Geography
Brush up on the basics of the new LSA submission process, then buckle up for a deep dive into using your LSA data. In this session, presenters will talk about how to use LSA data and the SPIST Performance Management module data visualizations to explore current system performance by different population groups, e.g. race and ethnicity, or different geography subgroups within adult only, adult and child, and child only households.
Mission Critical: Your System Administration Can Make or Break Your Implementation
Supporting a regional implementation with eight CoCs, over 500 agencies, 1500 projects and 1500 end users is no small feat. Supporting this beast requires an agile system administration team and coordination with the HMIS Lead. This session will focus on key players required to manage this large implementation. While this type of implementation is not standard, lessons learned are key to any size implementation.
Plenary: Seven Predictions About the Future of Homeless Service Information
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 year 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.
Remote Coordinated Entry: Using tools and partnerships to create an innovative solution
Communities face unexpected barriers when implementing coordinated entry and working towards ending homelessness. In Palm Beach County it was a “no walk-up” policy. Since starting Coordinated Entry in 2012, the community replaced subjectivity, side doors and inefficiencies with assessments, prioritization and unified systems. This session will present methods used for remote assessment, shelter and housing prioritization, and building a system in which clients and providers understand housing first culture.
Skills, strategies, and tools for creating a data-centric cultural shift
Through successful initiatives such as the Ending Veteran Homelessness Initiative, Chicago’s HMIS team has learned that engaging, comprehensive, easy to understand, and high-quality data can be a transformative and powerful tool. This presentation covers the different skills and strategies required to create and foster a data-driven culture; describes the experience of creating a robust homeless management information system; and presents several products created by the data team behind Chicago’s homeless data renaissance.
State and National Spotlight on Comparable Databases for Victim Service Providers
As HUD CoC funding increases for programs serving survivors fleeing domestic violence, confidentiality, safety, and data challenges have surfaced for victim service providers and HMIS leads. This session provides an opportunity to hear about best practices nationally and in Texas as well as hosting multiple café-style facilitated conversations among participants 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.
Tune Your System: Developing & Executing a Coordinated Entry Evaluation
How can CoCs ensure their coordinated entry systems use available resources most efficiently, reach all persons experiencing homelessness, prioritize the most vulnerable, move households out of homelessness as quickly as possible, and adequately support the professionals involved? Attendees will learn how to plan an annual evaluation of their system, gather the necessary information, analyze strengths and gaps, and develop strategies to tune the process to be simpler, smoother, and faster. Sasha Drozdova, Staff Attorney, HomeBase & Matt Olsson, Staff Attorney, HomeBase & Kathryn Kaminski, Continuum of Care Quality Improvement Manager, Office of Supportive Housing, County of Santa Clara “Sasha Drozdova, Staff Attorney, HomeBase (Consultant): Sasha Drozdova is a Staff Attorney for HomeBase. She facilitates intra- and inter-community planning processes and capacity-building to strengthen regional responses to homelessness. She works with CoCs to develop and continually improve coordinated entry systems. Sasha analyzes program- and system-level performance data and writes grant applications to increase programmatic and systematic capacity and function. She designs and conducts training, provides technical assistance, and monitors programs to ensure regulatory compliance and promote use of evidence-based best practices.
A Masters in Hard Knocks: The True story of open data sharing in Austin/Travis County, TX
In the beginning, no one shared anything with anybody for any reason. Today, we have an open system; with the exception of a few HIPAA agencies and our Runaway and Homeless Youth provider, all data is shared among the entire community by default, and clients routinely give us permission to share with outside agencies in our common pursuit of stable housing. Follow the four-year journey to full sharing and peer with us into the future. Explore the competing necessities of privacy protections and collaborative cooperation. How do you include Victim Service Providers? Are you willing to sacrifice efficiency? What a long strange trip it’s been, but we kept on truckin’ and now we face the eyes of the world. Implementations, Innovations, and Best Practices Beginner to Intermediate “Given a privacy minded continuum of care and a Homeless Mangement Information System capable of controlling data sharing, the learners will be able to:
Uses of system modeling to build consensus in homeless intervention funding strategy.
Use a hands-on modeling tool to tell the story of the relationship between homeless funding, intervention choices, and the size of the homeless population. In the hands of your funders, providers, and community members, this interactive, homeless system modeling tool can help drive consensus around funding needs and the most appropriate interventions. Participants will learn how the tool works, review the homeless system data and community data needed to construct their own model, and watch a model and public interface being built using a system modeling software package.
Here’s a sample of approved sessions that will be showcased at the NHSDC Fall 2018 Conference.
…and MORE! Please stay tuned for our conference agenda and schedule to be released in late September.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 [
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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