16 Ideas for Getting Community Sectors to Join the Homeless CoC & HMIS

30 December 2016 Karla Colonnieves Leave a comment

human services topics, solutions to homelessness, homeless services, Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), data collection

How do you engage various parts of the community in your homeless Continuum of Care and Homeless Management Information System?

How do you convince various community sectors that their collaboration is crucial to ending homelessness?

How do you provide incentives for CoC and HMIS participation that will actually work?

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7-Minute Summary of the 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR)

21 November 2016 Karla Colonnieves Leave a comment

homeless veterans, solutions to homelessness, chronic homelessness, homeless families, homeless youth

Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released The 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress – Part 1: Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness.

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11 Ideas for Getting the Best HMIS Data Quality for Homelessness

2 November 2016 Karla Colonnieves Leave a comment

human services topics, case management, solutions to homelessness, data analysis, Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), human services technology, data collection

Everyone wants to have confidence in their HMIS data quality.

No one wants to lie awake at night wondering if the client who was determined ineligible for services was wrongly turned away because of a possible intake error. No one wants to second-guess their decision to build a drop-in center at a particular location because they’re going off of mere “hunches” about patterns in their data without actually seeing these patterns. And no Continuum of Care wants to lose government funding because their HMIS data painted an inaccurate, incomplete picture of homelessness in their community.

HUD defines data quality as referring to the reliability and validity of client-level data collected in the HMIS. It’s measured by the extent to which the client data in the system reflects actual information in the real world. With good data quality, communities can “tell the story” of the population experiencing homelessness.

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4 Ways to Provide HIV/AIDS Housing & Healthcare to Homeless PLWHA

3 October 2016 Karla Colonnieves Leave a comment

coordinated assessment, human services topics, case management, solutions to homelessness, mental illness, homeless services, substance abuse

HIV/AIDS and homelessness are deeply intertwined issues. People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are significantly more vulnerable to becoming and remaining homeless.

National Alliance to End Homelessness claims that up to half of PLWHA (a number that amounts to more than a half million people) in the U.S. are at risk of becoming homeless. This is often due to high costs of health care and medications, as well as job loss resulting from workplace discrimination or frequent health-related absences.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported that 1.7 percent (9,294 individuals) of all homeless persons in the U.S. are living with HIV/AIDS, a third of which remain unsheltered. This doesn’t account for the number of homeless persons who have HIV but remain undiagnosed (AIDS.gov reports 1 in 8 PLWHA are unaware of it).

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What Changed in the 2016 HMIS Data Standards and Dictionary?

12 July 2016 Karla Colonnieves Leave a comment

Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), data collection

Updated September 6, 2016, to include additional changes made in Version 5.1, released August 2016.

Since their first publications, the HMIS Data Standards Manual and accompanying HMIS Data Dictionary have seen multiple revisions. The most recent update to both documents, Version 5.0, was published June 2016 with several changes, including an updated guidance and the significant redesign of one element, as well as new response options and data elements.

While HUD provides a brief revision history, or summary of changes, for each new version of the HMIS Data Standards and Data Dictionary, this article provides a comprehensive summary of the revisions—all in one place.

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How to Adapt Rapid Re-housing for Youth Homelessness

22 June 2016 Karla Colonnieves Leave a comment

coordinated assessment, case management, rapid re-housing, solutions to homelessness, homeless services, homeless youth, Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)

With HUD’s growing emphasis on allocating funding to rapid re-housing (RRH) over transitional housing, communities are determining how to best adapt coordinated entry to improve their RRH programs, especially for unaccompanied homeless youth.

Characteristics specific to homeless teens and young adults make the RRH model for this population more challenging. However, a well-utilized coordinated entry system (especially when integrated within a community’s HMIS) can ensure that this population is placed in housing swiftly and effectively.

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By-Name Lists: 2 Ways to Verify Veteran & Chronic Homelessness

11 May 2016 Karla Colonnieves Leave a comment

chronic homelessness

Communities nationwide are working tirelessly to end homelessness. Recently, these efforts have been concentrated on ending homelessness for two subpopulations—veterans, and the chronically homeless.

To do so, many communities are recognizing the need to develop, maintain, and use a by-name list (BNL), a continually updated snapshot of all individuals experiencing homelessness within that subpopulation in that area.

In order to be an effective tool, a by-name list must be as refined and accurate as possible. However, problems are arising with the validity of BNLs—many communities are ending up with lists that are cluttered and inaccurate due to the fact that it is difficult to determine and document eligibility for both homeless veterans and the chronically homeless. This can defeat the purpose of a by-name list.

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Using GIS to Solve 3 Common Problems in Helping the Homeless

8 April 2016 Karla Colonnieves Leave a comment

criminalization, solutions to homelessness, data analysis, homeless services, homeless youth, Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), human services technology, data collection

Geographical location is often overlooked when designing and evaluating homeless services and programs. However, advanced modern technology has made methods such as geographic mapping more accessible to Human Services.

One such example is geographic or geospatial information systems (GIS). GIS is an important tool for communities that want to define and target geographic problems commonly faced when helping the homeless.

Although GIS can transform the way we understand homelessness, many communities are either unaware of this tool, or are unsure of how to use it.

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Criminalization of Homelessness: Your Basic But Comprehensive Guide

14 March 2016 Karla Colonnieves Leave a comment

human services topics, criminalization, solutions to homelessness, chronic homelessness, homeless services

Criminalization of homelessness: Measures that prohibit life-sustaining activities such as sleeping, eating, sitting, and/or asking for money or resources in public spaces. (National Coalition for the Homeless)

Criminalization of the homeless is all over the news these days. It seems that more and more communities are struggling with this issue. It may even appear that anti-homeless laws are increasing... Well, that's because they are.

Recent research has demonstrated clear upticks in anti-homeless bans over the past few years. As criminalization increases, so does awareness of the problem. New research shows that criminalization doesn’t work—it’s the most expensive and least effective way to address homelessness. (Tweet this)

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HMIS Data: Getting Measurable Results Through Business Intelligence

10 July 2015 Erica Harrison Leave a comment

solutions to homelessness, data analysis, homeless services, Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)

“The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.”
— Carly Fiorina, former Executive, President, and Chair of Hewlett-Packard Co.

Efforts to end homelessness have become increasingly sophisticated over the past two years, due in large part to improvements in HMIS utilization. As HMIS utilization increases, so does the success rate of efforts to end homelessness.

HMIS reporting techniques have shifted as a result of these improvements—simple ‘output’ reporting no longer holds the clout it once did. Instead, performance measurement reporting has become necessary to achieve outcomes, serving as the key measurement tool that CoCs can use to measure which efforts are working, and which efforts are not.

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