Data Drives Results: Take Down Targets Help Communities Zero in on Ending Homelessness

The third of a three-part post from the Zero 2016 campaign:

Data Drives Results: Take Down Targets Help Communities Zero in on Ending Homelessness

By Matthew Doherty and Beth Sandor

In our shared mission to end homelessness, we know that data drives results. It drives the strategies and implementation of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, a framework for action for partners at every level of government and the private and nonprofit sectors. It drives tools and practices of the Zero: 2016 effort to help 71 communities do whatever it takes to end veteran homelessness this year and chronic homelessness by the end of 2016. And it drives the day-to-day efforts of people across the country working tirelessly to assist each and every person experiencing homelessness in their communities to achieve their goals of permanent housing. Data is at the very core of creating a housing system built for zero and achieving an end to homelessness.

Today, Zero: 2016 communities are confirming and committing to one of the most integral pieces of data in their efforts to end homelessness – their veteran and chronic homelessness Take Down Targets. These Take Down Targets represent the total number of veterans experiencing homelessness who will need to be connected to permanent housing in order to end veteran homelessness by the end of this year, and the total number of individuals experiencing chronic homelessness who need to be connected to permanent housing in order to end chronic homelessness in these communities by the end of 2016.

A community’s Take Down Targets are determined by combining data from the Point in Time Count (PIT) and/or local by-name registries with multipliers derived from community and national data, which account for additional people who may become homeless and who may have not been counted during the PIT. Many Zero: 2016 communities are further refining these Take Down Targets using supplementary local data, historical trends and by-name information. As communities increasingly integrate a Common Assessment Tool (CAT) into day-to-day street outreach, local Take Down Targets will give way to actionable, real time, continuously updated by-name lists.

But setting Take Down Targets isn’t just about setting time bound goals – these targets also help communities identify any gaps in housing resources and opportunities and guide them in developing strategies for reducing or eliminating these gaps. Using customized Gap Analysis Tools provided by Zero: 2016, communities will be able to consider their Take Down Targets against available housing resources in their community, as determined by their Housing Inventory Count (HIC).

Some readers may have heard that the Opening Doors goal for ending chronic homelessness has been adjusted to 2017 – that’s true. Recognizing a need for more permanent supportive housing nationally, and that the most recent budget passed by Congress fell short of closing this gap, the President’s FY 2016 Budget calls for the investments needed nationally to end chronic homelessness before the end 2017. But it is also true that there are many communities that can achieve this goal ahead of the national timeline. Communities that can achieve the goal of ending chronic homelessness sooner should do so; they should do so on behalf of their neighbors experiencing chronic homelessness, but also to continue to create proof points that will help inspire national progress and momentum. Zero: 2016 communities are committed to leading the way by ending chronic homelessness in 2016.

The goal of a Take Down Target is to ensure each community is using data for improvement, benchmarking progress against the goal of getting to zero. While not perfect, these targets are intended to provide the most accurate information available on the number of people who need to be linked to permanent housing in order for a community to end chronic and veteran homelessness. It is this type of transparent, real-time, person-specific data that will help communities optimize resources, improve multi-agency coordination and accelerate housing placements, ultimately making the goal of ending veteran and chronic homelessness over the next two years a reality.

At the end of the day, we know that what gets measured gets done. By setting Take Down Targets and managing toward outcomes on a monthly basis, communities across the country are proving that ending homelessness is measurable and absolutely possible.

Matthew Doherty is the Interim Executive Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. Beth Sandor is the Director of Zero: 2016 for Community Solutions.


Affordable Housing Opportunity in the Hilltowns

Hilltown Community Development Corporation is now accepting applications for an affordable housing lottery.  Apartments are located in Haydenville, Williamsburg, and Chesterfield, and include all newly renovated and affordable studio, 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom sized units.  There are mobility and sensory adapted units available.  Income restrictions apply; this is an equal housing opportunity.  Units will become available between July 1, 2015-Feb. 2016.  Applications can be mailed or emailed, or found at local town offices and libraries.  Tenants will be chosen through a lottery in June 2015.  The application deadline is Friday, May 8, 2015.

Please contact Teri at 413-296-4536 x110 or for more information, or for an application.


Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Minutes – 2/11/15

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes
February 11, 2015

In attendance: Shannon Barry, Springfield Public Schools, Jill Fijal, Chicopee Public Schools, Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Lizzy Ortiz, Springfield Office of Housing, Jean Rogers, CHD, Sarah Slautterback, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Youth Survey

Hampden County update:

Due to the weather, the dates of the youth survey shift to Thursday, 1/29/15 to Thurs., 2/5/15

Surveys were in both English and Spanish. The survey was online this year (youth did paper/pencil). $10 gift cards for Dunkin’ Donuts were available for the youth that participated in the survey as an incentive. Soda and pizza were provided at the events that took place.

There were youth ambassadors to assist with the survey, 2 from ROCA and 1 from SHINE. They each received a $75 check for their assistance.

House of Colors, a group that works with LGBTQ youth 24 y.o. and under participated in the survey. They had an event at the Holyoke Public Library. 10 surveys came from this event

There were two other events, one at STCC, from which 10 surveys were returned, the other was at HCC and no one showed up.

Both Putnam and Commerce High Schools (Springfield) participated in the surveys.

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Secure Jobs Advisory Committee Minutes – 2/10/15

Secure Jobs Advisory Committee
February 10, 2015

In attendance: Toni Bator, HAPHousing, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Donna Harris, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Lisa Lapierre, Secure Jobs/Corporation for Public Management, Melissa Mateus, Springfield Partners, Darlene Morse, CareerPoint, Konrad Rogowski, FutureWorks, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Rep. Aaron Vega, Holyoke, Phyllis White, Franklin Hampshire Career Center

Debrief on Secure Jobs Celebration

Everyone agreed it was wonderfully successful! Congratulations to everyone for fantastic work.

We had an initial discussion re: plans for next year. Pamela suggested that we should vary the format and shared Rep. Farley-Bouvier’s idea raised after last week’s event to have a type of forum where we are educating legislators and getting feedback on the issues and challenges. We all agreed that it could be a great use of legislators’ time to bring them together to hear about the barriers pertaining to state policy/legislation and what fixes are needed to address them.  We also agreed we would hold such a forum in late Fall to allow for earlier input in the fiscal year and to avoid the threat of a snow storm cancelation (never again!).

Monthly Progress Report

Please click here to review.

We noted the amazing retention rate from the initial Fireman grant (over 80%), a huge testimony to the success of this program’s model.

We are currently at 83 enrollments of the 100 required under the DHCD grant. All agreed that it is now especially important to prioritize based on motivation level in order to maximize chances of translating enrollment translating to employment.

It was noted that there is current focus on enhancing retention tracking systems under the DHCD grant. Lisa is working closely with CareerPoint staff to support this effort.

Lisa shared an update on the Secure Jobs rally held on 1/23 that provided enrollees an opportunity to get better connected and learn more about job opportunities. It was a successful event.

Franklin Hampshire Career Center is seeing an increase in referrals.

BerkshireWorks is fully off the ground, enrolling clients and working closely with Brad Gordon, providing a presence at Housing Court and also reaching out to Northern Berkshire County through the Northern Berkshires Community Coalition.

Next meeting: Tuesday, 3/17, Franklin Hampshire Career Center.