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Skills, strategies, and tools for creating a data-centric cultural shift

Skills, strategies, and tools for creating a data-centric cultural shift

September 23, 2018 2018 Fall Conference

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.

From January 2016 to April 2017, Chicago reduced the number of veterans experiencing homelessness by 26% through the Ending Veteran Homelessness Initiative (EVHI). Since then, the working structure of the Chicago Continuum of Care has been transformed to more closely mirror the EVHI in order to replicate its success across the entire homeless system. The revised structure ensures that plans can be implemented swiftly, with data at the core of every decision.
The people involved in solving homelessness – service providers, funders, policymakers, etc. – have varying degrees of experience with data and very limited time. To ensure that all stakeholders have the interest and capacity to use data effectively, the All Chicago HMIS team built a robust homeless management information system (HMIS) and multiple products to share data in a clear, easy-to-use, and engaging way.

At this presentation, participants will meet the duo behind Chicago’s data renaissance: a systems-thinker experienced in user interface and design and a data analyst proficient in technical skills. Participants will learn about the complementary hard and soft skills needed to foster a culture of data-driven decision making. The data team will also discuss the balancing act of developing innovative products while meeting basic HMIS requirements using limited financial and staff resources. The data team will use deliverables (e.g., HMIS, a By Name List, and the Chicago Dashboard to End Homelessness) to illustrate the collaborative processes involved both internally, between the team members, as well as externally, with the team and the larger Chicago homeless community. Finally, the data team will offer some key lessons for other communities who want to create similar data tools for community engagement.

Kimberly Schmitt is the Director of Data and Analytics at All Chicago. Kimberly has focused on building the Coordinated Entry System for Chicago by beginning to focus on the development of the data framework for the Ending Veteran Homelessness Initiative. She has worked to ensure that the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) has been the platform for all aspects of this effort. Kimberly has created a means of entering assessment data, connecting participants to housing, assessing their progress, and examining movement towards permanent housing all in HMIS. She has integrated additional projects into HMIS to help build a comprehensive system for data collection and housing. She has used the vast HMIS data to build community and program level dashboards to help guide efforts in system development and implementation. Kimberly has been asked to speak at national conferences to share the efforts taken in Chicago to build an engaging Dashboard that has been implemented for large scale system change. Kimberly has a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Jane Addams College of Social Work.

Adam Czernikowski, Senior Data Analyst, All Chicago

Adam Czernikowski is the Senior Data Analyst at All Chicago – Making Homelessness History. Over the last 5 years, Adam has helped transform the data in Chicago’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and how it is used by the community. He instituted a data quality process in which the 350+ service providers still participate quarterly to address systemic issues with missing and conflicting data. To assist with Coordinated Entry, he crafted one of the only By-Name Lists in the country automatically generated from HMIS data to be used to house the most vulnerable persons experiencing homelessness. In 2017, he built Chicago’s Dashboard to End Homelessness, a set of data visualizations updated weekly allowing various stakeholders to drill down into HMIS data and identify trends. Adam holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering from the University of Florida.”