How do Continuums of Care (CoC) know if they are systemically ending homelessness?

How do Continuums of Care (CoC) know if they are systemically ending homelessness?

With the 2018 CoC Application in the rear window, where do communities look to assess if they have a systemic response to homelessness that prioritizes housing first with the goal of ending homelessness for all?  With a local requirement to implement coordinated entry as a tool to uniformly assess acuity of client need within a housing first approach, how do communities know if they are systemically reducing the length of time any person remains homeless?

To know if shifting processes for system wide uniform assessment of client need is appropriately resulting in sustainable housing placements, it is essential for communities to evaluate their coordinated entry systems to identify barriers and innovative practices that support the goal of ending homelessness. Understanding effectiveness of practices will help refine the response to homelessness, provide opportunities to continuously enhance access to housing, and plan for future housing needs.

Cloudburst assists communities with improving their coordinated entry systems through a 360° review and action planning process. Cloudburst’s tools for assessing policies, procedures, and real-time practices are paired with data-driven analytics that identify areas for improvement – all within the context of client lived experiences with the coordinated entry process. Opportunities to reduce length of shelter stay and move clients more quickly into available housing and reduce recidivism, are identified and transformed into an action plan framework, with benchmarks and activities that if acted upon will more quickly end homelessness for all persons.

“The Cloudburst framework for evaluating our coordinated entry process was really comprehensive,” says Wende Randall, Director of the Kent County Essential Needs Task Force. “It really pointed out where we could make immediate improvements as a community as well as providing a structure for our annual evaluation of our system.”

Having that structure is important for effective evaluation. “Some communities simply don’t have the resources to develop tools for evaluating their coordinated entry systems,” says Kat Freeman, Cloudburst’s Coordinated Entry Subject Matter Expert. “Cloudburst has the tools and the framework to make the evaluation easier for communities to conduct and gives them a structure for taking action. And the best part is, improving a community’s coordinated entry system impacts their clients in a very direct – and positive – way. That’s a mission we can all believe in!”

Written by Kat Freeman, Cloudburst’s Coordinated Entry Subject Matter Expert. Ms. Freeman specializes in the application of technology and business processes within social service settings to improve the homeless systems of care and the data that supports system change. She focuses on IT strategies, governance, and performance measurement as critical components to improving client outcomes and effective and efficient utilization of resources.

Click here to learn more about Cloudburst’s consulting and training options related to homelessness and other housing/community development programs.

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