Category Archives: Data Committee

Data Committee Meeting Minutes – August 19, 2010

In Attendance:  Michael Doherty, Charlie Knight, Nicole Desabrais, Lori Ingraham,  Andrea Miller, Ron Krakowiak, Mary Orisich, Suzanne Smith.

Update on Funding of Data Analyst and Research Assistants Post 9/30 – Discussions between the three continua about merging HMIS systems have continued, and consultations with Social Solutions and others are ongoing.  It is currently looking like sharing staff among continuaa rather than data systems might be the best way to go.  The state will roll out Social Solutions as its new system in November, making it available to CoCs free of charge for the first year.  In addition to their HMIS system, Social Solutions has a promising new subscription software program called ETO Community, which would allow us to integrate data across the three continuaa.  This is currently looking like the best bet for merging and analyzing our data as a region, but it could take several months before full implementation.

The timing of these developments is such that Three County CoC HUD/HMIS funds will most likely not be available to fund the network level Data Analyst position in October, as the best use of those funds is still being determined.   In addition, the purchase of hardware and software for the network will be postponed until more is known about what will be needed in conjunction with the ETO Community software.  In the meantime, to continue to build on our current momentum, another source of funding will be found to extend the Data Analyst contract at a level that would be enough to sustain existing work and bridge the gap.

Housing Court  Data Collection: The committee strategized ways to continue Housing Court data collection and entry for ongoing analysis and follow up after the end of the ICHH grant. Providers who staff the housing court should continue to fill out forms.  Suzanne and Nicole will create a student internship or service learning position that will cover data  input and some analysis.    Nicole will pull together a description and list of appropriate college offices.   Suzanne will circulate to Judge Fields and committee for feedback before it is posted.

Performance Measurement:

Family Shelter entries have been increasing through late July and the early part of August, and hotel numbers have increased from the low of 166 on July 14th to 190 on August 14.  This is being seen statewide and coincides with the ICHH and balance of state HPRP funds having been used up.  The housing court has also seen more evictions as unemployment benefits have run out.  We discussed the ways we could look at expected levels of homelessness given the poverty rates in our area and compare that to what we are seeing to get a better handle on our impact.   We are not far enough in to some our family rehousing efforts to determine sustainability rates, but following up on whether our efforts resulted in sustainable housing of families will provide a key indicator.

On the individual side, we are up to 31 chronically homeless individuals housed through the ICHH grant, with a contract extension allowing for another 11 being placed in housing by March, 2011.

The Second Quarter Outcomes Report was distributed.  This report went to Leadership Council in July.  Some indicators still require data collection or quality improvement in order to be calculated accurately.  The monthly PIT counts are sometimes over estimated due to inaccurate exit dates entered into the HMIS system.   We are now going each provider to get the numbers for the given dates.    We are aiming to have the quarter 2 PIT counts by September 1, and until the new system is in place and data quality is assured, we will implement an automated  monthly survey to collect those numbers.

The Committee discussed ongoing data collection strategies post 9/30.  The best bet to bridge the time between the end of the grant and the beginning of new systems (SHORE’s move to Social Solutions in November, the three County CoC’s hiring of an HMIS administrator,  ETO community being up and running) will be to continue the monthly surveys of individuals and family providers, only expanding the provider list to include all providers and the questions to cover numbers relevant to the outcomes we want to measure.  These include number of families rehoused from shelter and hotels, monthly Point in Time counts, and the numbers of chronically homeless individuals housed throughout the region, not just through REACH programs but through other means as well.  The best tool will be an automated survey that will go out once per month with a limited number of questions asking for summary data, without any identifying information.  As the new systems roll out, these numbers can begin to serve as a check on data quality.  Reporting these survey results out will provide some needed feedback on how we are doing as a region.  This approach will keep us moving as we gather additional resources and implement the new systems.

 Next Meeting:

Tuesday, September 21,                                                                                                                                                                                     1-2:30                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Springfield Housing Court

Data Committee Meeting Minutes – June 24

In Attendance: Judge Robert Fields, Michael Doherty, Charlie Knight, Nicole Desabrais, Pamela Schwartz, Lori Ingraham, Deborah Merkman, Gwen Gannon, Mary Orisich, Suzanne Smith

Data Integration
– Suzanne updated the committee on integration efforts (combining data from three CoC’s into one integrated analytical database).  Challenges are as follows:

State of Data/HMIS

  • DHCD is moving from SHORE to Social Solutions
  • Talk of merging CoC HMIS systems – meeting tomorrow in Northampton
  • Changes from the HUD’s Data Standards from 2004 to 2010 went into effect in June. This involves reprogramming (actually just editing the code, and there were value changes on variables.)  Three CoC’s are at various stages of making this change.  This effects the format that datasets come in.

These changes are good news in that data collection can be more streamlined – it is moving in the right direction, it just means more time.

The goal is still a goal to have unduplicated counts – baseline to end of june, for leadership council meeting in July.  Leadership Council needs as much real time information as possible.

Housing Court Data Collection Effort – The Housing court Record of Service form was revised in light of what has been learned in the process of entering the data from the forms. Judge Fields and Michael Doherty agreed to review changes and their rationales and then these will be explained to providers staffing the court.

Performance Measures – The Committee reviewed and discussed performance measures including trends in hotel numbers, shelter entries, family diversions and preventions and individuals housed through REACH efforts.  Members made suggestions for changes in the way some charts were presented.  Suzanne will send charts out to committee for any further feedback on what pieces of information are most important for the network to be communicating, particularly to the Leadership Council.

Update on Second Draft of Progress Report – The first draft of the “progress report” was presented to the Steering Committee, where there was significant discussion about the balance between the needs of various audiences – Leadership Council, Providers, Data Analysts, Media etc.  This led to two subsequent meetings of a subgroup of the Steering Committee to follow up on these conversations so that work could be streamlined and short-term and long-term goals could be prioritized.  This subgroup reviewed  a list of measures to determine what they considered to be priorities (balanced with the length of time they would take to produce).  These will be integrated into the progress report and prepared for the Leadership Council meeting in July.   The measures considered were distributed to this data committee.

Next Meeting
Thursday August 19, 2010
Housing Court
37 Elm St., Springfield

Data and Evaluation Committee Meeting Minutes

The Data Committee met on Thursday, May 27 at the Springfield Housing Court.

In attendance: Pamela Schwartz,  Andrea Miller, Charlie Knight, Judge Robert Fields, Michael Doherty, Lori Ingraham, Deb Merkman, Suzanne Smith, Jen Geertsma, Gwen Gannon.

Performance Measurement – The committee reviewed the latest shelter entry and motel census numbers for the region, as well as monthly individual and family ICHH reports.  The number of families in motels in Western Mass has continued to fall and shelter entries continue their downward trend.  Twenty-four chronically homeless individuals have now been housed with ICHH grant money, with 14 housing slots still to fill.  The committee also discussed strategies to decrease turn around time for assessments for housed individuals.

Draft Progress Report – The data committee reviewed a draft “progress report” template, which is being developed as a communications tool to present varied audiences (leadership council, consumers, providers, general public, media) with baseline numbers for the region, showing progress towards goals as well as the challenges faced.  The intent is for the progress report to present annual numbers with quarterly updates.  This draft will go to Steering Committee for input, and a second draft will be reviewed at the next data committee meeting, to be finalized in time for the Leadership Council meeting in July.

Housing Court Initiative – An updated housing court data collection report was presented.  This covered four months of Housing Court Record of Service data entry.  There were 168 cases presented from January through the end of April.  Of these, 158 were eviction cases.  During this time period, 81 of these tenancies were preserved, 19 resulted in eviction, 41 cases were continued, and 24 had unknown results.   An analysis of the missing items on the data collection form was presented, and the data analyst will work with Judge Fields on improving data collection.

Next Data and Evalution Committee Meeting:

Thursday, June 24th
Springfield Housing Court

Agenda items will include performance measurement, review of second draft of progress report, update on data integration efforts, discussion of the use of focus group research per discussion at the April Leadership Council meeting.

Data Committee Minutes, 1/19/10

Data and Performance Evaluation Committee Meeting Minutes, 01/19/10

In Attendance:  Tim Brennan, PVPC, Lori Ingraham, Easthampton Savings Bank, Charlie Knight, Network, Andrea Miller, CHD, John Klenakis, UMass Donahue Institute, Michael Doherty, Housing Court, Rob Fields, Housing Court, John Umile, Housing Court, Rebecca Muller, GrantsWork, Suzanne Smith, Network Data Analyst


1.      Evaluation Plan Progress Report: Due to job changes and vacations Andrea and Suzanne have not met but will meet in the coming two weeks to discuss the integration of performance measures into the evaluation plan.  They will send out plan via email for comments in the next two weeks.  Committee discussed the PIT count to take place on January 27th.  It is possible that data from this count could be compiled before the next data committee meeting but it is not guaranteed.
Action: Andrea and Suzanne will send proposed measurements by email within the next two weeks for feedback before the next meeting.  Suzanne will contact Peg Keller about PIT count and encourage providers at individual and family services meetings to get their forms in ASAP.

2.     2.  Update on Confidentiality Agreements:  Suzanne reported on updates from ICHH on confidentiality of identifiable data.  Data analyst needs personal identifiers in order to de-duplicate.   After consulting with the DHCD legal department, ICHH has advised that confidentiality of identifiable data collected as part of the ICHH grants is protected under contracts DHCD has with the Convening Agencies.   DHCD will make Suzanne an administrator of the online Uniform Assessment Tool so that she can easily access that information and integrate it with other data.  Those agencies not using the online UAT (i.e. those using an HMIS) will be able to upload data into the backend.  Discussion followed about the problems associated with having multiple data systems.  It was suggested that the Steering Committee might take up the issue of seeking support from ICHH for our network efforts to cooperate and leverage existing resources.  Action: Suzanne will call on subcommittee formed at last meeting to continue working towards eliminating barriers to data access.  She will also take issue of multiple systems to Steering Committee.

3.      Housing Court: Committee made additions to the Housing Court document, including a case number to allow for follow-up data collection.  Rob announced the protocol for handling the Housing Court Record of Service forms.  Forms will be available in a bin in the resource room at the court.  They will be filled out and handed to the clerk at the end of the shift, who will store them for compilation.    For the roughly 5000 cases per year, we will need an intern to enter the data.  Action: Suzanne will send Housing Court Record of Service document out for one more round of feedback.  Rob will follow up with email to providers once form is finalized on Friday.  Suzanne will bring question of intern to Pam and Steering Committee, if appropriate.

4.      MA DOC: Andrea reported on presentation on discharge planning and homelessness prevention interventions by a statistician from MA Department of Corrections (DOC) at the recent WMIC meeting.   Andrea handed out data and charts on DOC releases to Western MA, by county.  DOC is willing to tailor reports to our needs, which might offer opportunity to report on network’s efforts.  We might also consider how HPRP funds can be used for people released to shelter.  Action: Keep this item on upcoming agendas to revisit how we might collaborate with DOC and utilize data resources being offered.

5.     5.  Performance Measurement: Review of quarterly report numbers of individuals and families served with ICHH funds.  A quick look at entries and exit data distributed by ICHH. For lack of time, further inspection will be done by email.    In future, this item will be put earlier on the agenda with numbers and charts distributed ahead of meeting for perusal.

Next Meeting: Tuesday February 23rd, 12:30 – 2:00, Housing Court, 37 Elm St., Springfield.