Category Archives: Research

Using Data to Predict Family Homelessness

Interesting article on Co.Exist: Facing a Homelessness Crisis, New York City Pinpoints Vulnerable Families by Mining Eviction Filings.

Among homeless families, about one in three first enter the shelter system after experiencing an eviction. But for the few hundred prevention and outreach staff at the NYC Department of Homeless Services, reaching these families before they show up at a shelter is like trying to find a needle in a haystack–only 5% of the some 200,000 eviction notices filed in New York each year cause families to become homeless.

The model is still being tested, but SumAll Foundation CEO Stefan Heeke says he’s excited about the impact of the work. “We can confidently say that we are in a position to make that prediction,” he says. “The idea is to create an application–literally a map–where we can basically point out the hotspots or the buildings or even the addresses where eviction filings are happening and which are likely to result in homelessness.”

Right now, he says, they’re working on developing a dashboard that DHS staff will be able to use to help plan their day. That might involve social workers visiting a building and leaving information about legal services, housing programs, and other services that might keep the family in a home.




Youth Count

So many of you participated in our first-ever youth count!

We’ll be collecting surveys this week and sending them on to the data input and analysis folks.  We’re looking forward to more information about this population to guide our understanding of the policies and programs that can help.

Last week, Atlantic Cities wrote about youth counts and the particular challenge of finding LGBTQ youth.

Young people in general are often missed by the traditional counts because they try to avoid drawing attention to themselves, fearing they’ll end up in the custody of child protective services agencies.  LGBTQ youth are even harder to reach.

Click to read The Particular Challenge of Helping Homeless LGBTQ Youth.

2008 AHAR released by HUD

HUD has released the 2008  Annual Homeless assessment Report (AHAR), the fourth in a series of reports on homelessness in the United States.  The report provides counts of homelessness nationwide—including counts of individuals, persons in families, and special population groups such as veterans and chronically homeless people.  The report also covers the types of locations where people use emergency shelter and transitional housing; where people were just before they entered a residential program; how much time they spend in shelters over the course of a year; and the size and use of the U.S inventory of residential programs for homeless people. 

The AHAR – which is based on data collected in 2009 – showed a ten percent reduction among people experiencing chronic homelessness, but a rise in the number of families seeking shelter.

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.