Ending Homelessness Today — Trainings
Field Notes: Tackling Assessment and Referrals as Part of Coordinated Assessment
January 30, 2013
Over the course of the past year, we have worked with communities across the country, and we’ve learned a lot about coordinated assessment. Today, we’d like to share with you some of those lessons.
Read More »
Field Notes: Progressive Engagement Activity
December 19, 2012
During last summer’s conference, we did an exercise that demonstrates to an audience how a progressive engagement process works. Progressive engagement refers to a strategy of providing a small amount of assistance to everybody who enters your homelessness system, then waiting to see if that works. If it doesn’t, you provide more assistance and wait to see if that works. If not, you apply even more, until eventually you provide your most intensive interventions to the few people who are left.
We did the exercise with an audience of about 75 people. Here’s how it worked:
Read More »
Field Notes: Talking About Tiers
December 12, 2012
Earlier this week, I participated in a webinar with our friends at the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and Joyce Probst MacAlpine from Dayton/Montgomery County, Ohio about thinking strategically about the NOFA for the the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program.
The webinar should be posted on USICH’s website in the next few days. In the meantime, it’s worth reiterating and expanding on a few points about the tiering process and how to get the most out of it.
Read More »
Field Notes: Rapid Re-Housing Outcomes, Community Examples, and Evaluation
December 06, 2012
Today we’ve released the fifth and final training module in a five-part training series on rapid re-housing. In this short video, Alliance Capacity Building Associate Kimberly Walker discusses outcomes and evaluations, and provides community examples. When we conduct our rapid re-housing clinics in person, this portion of the training is usually where participants have the most questions and feedback. If you have missed the previous modules, don’t worry, you can find them here.
Read More »
Engaging TANF Leaders Gets Results
December 03, 2012
In July, The White House recognized Frank Cirillo, Director of the Mercer County Board of Social Services (MCBOSS) in Trenton, NJ as a “Champion of Change” for his work on ending family homelessness. It was well deserved recognition. Cirillo’s agency, which administers the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, has taken a leadership role in the effort to end family homelessness in Mercer County. The agency’s efforts have paid off.
Over a two year period, the number of families experiencing homelessness on any given day in Cirillo’s county decreased by 20 percent.
Read More »
Upcoming Webinar: Improving the Crisis Response for Youth
July 09, 2012
The Alliance estimates that, over the course of a year, approximately 550,000 homeless youth and young adults are in need of emergency shelter, with some of them requiring even longer-term housing options. Additionally, there are approximately 1.3 million youths under the age of 18 who are absent from their homes for shorter periods of time that may need short-term emergency housing. Unfortunately, the current emergency shelter capacity in our country is not large enough to handle this volume of young people, and the adult emergency shelter system is not always a safe or accommodating option.
On Wednesday, July 11, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET, the Alliance will host “Improving the Crisis Response for Youth,” a webinar that will focus on keeping youth off the streets and away from the dangers of life on the streets, like violence, drugs and sexual exploitation. This webinar will discuss host homes and other alternatives to physical shelter beds, as well as ways of improving the responsiveness of the adult crisis system to the needs of youth in crisis.
The webinar will feature Samantha Batko, Program and Policy Analyst at the National Alliance to End Homelessness; Kristen Granatek, Manager of Technical Assistance and Program Services at the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness; and Mark Kroner, Director of the Lighthouse Training Institute out of Lighthouse Youth Services.... Read More »
Field Notes: Recruiting landlords in rapid re-housing efforts
July 05, 2012
A few weeks ago, my colleague, Kim Walker announced our new series of our Rapid Re-housing Training Modules, short, narrated presentations about different aspects of rapid re-housing. She also announced the release of the first of the modules on Housing Barriers Assessment. As Kim mentioned, the Alliance wants to provide information about best practices in a variety of ways. Since we all have different learning styles, some of us need short “snippets” of information on a particular part of a topic rather than the whole shebang at one time. And, for most of us, just doing our work keeps us so incredibly busy that is hard to find time to stay on top of what’s out there.
This week we are releasing the second short, narrated module of our rapid re-housing series, Housing Search, Location and Landlords Module, which I have the privilege of narrating. I love talking about this stuff because there are so many ideas and ways to make this work. Without landlords, we won’t have housing for our folks. I have included a lot of different tools and ideas to recruit landlords that we have learned from communities who have had a lot of success in building landlord partnerships. In addition, this module includes two activities for you to begin developing your own plan to partner with landlords and incentives to increase landlord participation. These activities are ones we use when doing our in-person rapid rehousing t... Read More »
Field Notes: Following Up on Alameda
June 27, 2012
A few months ago, we brought you a series of posts about Alameda County’s efforts to implement the HEARTH Act through performance measurement (here, here, and here). How have things gone since then? Well, they’ve just published another performance report, and the improvements are impressive. Here’s are a couple of highlights from the report:
The system demonstrated a 30% increase in the rate of persons exiting programs with permanent housing from 33% in 2010 to 43% in 2011
Both transitional housing and emergency shelter providers reduced the length of time between program entry and acquiring permanent housing by 8% and 6% respectively
Finally, providers increased the numbers of persons exiting with some income who entered the system with none. Helping people to secure earned income remained a challenge for our system.
Here’s a chart that summarizes some of the permanent housing outcomes by program type, and there’s a lot more in the report. Nice work.
... Read More »
Field Notes: New Rapid Re-housing Training Modules
May 23, 2012
At the Alliance, we’re always looking for ways to help people learn more about best practices as quickly as possible. We know that the more good information you have at your disposal, the more likely it is that you’ll be able you are to get results in your communities when it comes to adopting strategies that really work. However, we also realize that, as providers in the field, you don’t always have the time or energy to read through long reports or other documents to get to the good stuff. Rapid re-housing is a great and very important strategy, and though we already have in-depth guides, online trainings, webinars, and PowerPoints to teach you about it, we also wanted to provide you with something short, sweet, and to the point. That’s why we’ve begun developing and releasing our Rapid Re-housing Training Modules, which are 10-15 minute narrated PowerPoints on the most important elements of a successful rapid re-housing program: a housing barriers assessment process, housing location and developing landlord relationships, subsidies, voluntary service provision, and outcome measurement. We introduced the first of these modules on housing barriers assessment last week (narrated by yours truly), and will be releasing the next four over the coming weeks. Included with the slides are some interactive activities we’ve used when doing in-person rapid re-housing trainings, for those of you who learn best by doing. The modules are great for people t... Read More »
Learning about Advocacy at our National Conference on Ending Homelessness
May 16, 2012
When our blog readers think of Washington, DC, they often think of politics (and politicians, of course), soaring monuments, and hopefully, the Alliance’s advocacy efforts. But in all seriousness, coming to our nation’s capital is a great opportunity to learn what’s happening with federal policy and to make an impact on it. We talked last week about how to participate in Capitol Hill Day, but our National Conference on Ending Homelessness also offers a great opportunity to learn more about federal policy and advocacy, including messaging and how-tos.
This year, we’ve got a great track of workshops for anyone who wants to better hone their advocacy skills, for seasoned advocates, for Capitol Hill Day participants, or for folks who are just curious. Here’s a basic overview of some of the great advocacy workshops we’re planning:
Building a Systems Change Movement: Engaging Local Leaders – This workshop will provide attendees with concrete examples and how tips for getting your local community leaders (elected officials or otherwise) to work together to support and affect positive systems change.
Impacting Policy: Making the Most of your Advocacy Meetings – Ideal for Capitol Hill Day participants, this workshop will cover the nitty-gritty of conducting a meeting with your Member of Congress or their staff. The lessons imparted will also translate to local and state policymakers or other key stakeholder meetings.
The Federal Budget: Update and Impact on Ending Homelessness – There have been many changes to ... Read More »
On The Road: Rapid Re-Housing for Survivors of Domestic Training in Connecticut
May 04, 2012
I used to work in the Alliance’s Center for Capacity Building and spent a lot of time in local communities working with providers and local governments to implement rapid re-housing programs. About a year and a half ago I shifted to our policy team and the amount of time I spent in communities doing trainings decreased significantly. I spend much more time up on the Hill now—educating Congressional staff and analyzing federal programs and policies to try and improve the national response to homelessness. This week provided me with the opportunity to get back out in the field and talk to providers about a topic I am particularly passionate about—making sure that survivors of domestic violence are able to safely access the housing they need to move forward in their lives.
Yesterday, I presented at the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness’ (CCEH’s) 10th Annual Training Institute in Meriden, CT. Approximately 300 attendees representing homeless service providers and government agencies from throughout Connecticut attend the training institute to learn about what is happening on the federal and state level as well as learn about successful strategies being implemented by other communities in the state.
I was joined in my session by Shakeita Boyd from the District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) in Washington, DC and we presented on the basics of the rapid re-housing model, survivor specific adaptations to the model, examples of successful programs, and systems level consideration... Read More »
Field Notes: The Performance Improvement Clinic
April 18, 2012
Over the past year, the Alliance has been presenting an intensive one-and-a-half day clinic to help communities prepare for changes made by the HEARTH Act. The clinic focuses on improving community performance by analyzing community data and shifting to strategies that better achieve the HEARTH Act's performance expectations.
We will continue to offer these clinics, although we're changing the name to the Performance Improvement Clinic (we used to call them HEARTH Implementation Clinics). The name change reflects the fact that the clinic mostly focuses on the performance aspects of the HEARTH Act and also to distinguish it from the many other types of HEARTH Act assistance that will be available from HUD and other organizations over the coming months.
The Performance Improvement Clinic will continue to include group discussions, system design and modification planning sessions, and presentations on best practices. Clinic participants will also receive hands-on technical assistance with data analysis and system assessment in preparation for the Clinic and follow-up support. While the overall goals and structure of the clinic are the same, it is constantly updated with new information and customized to the conditions in each community.
On our weekly blog series, Field Notes, we have talked about the experiences of Alameda County and Whatcom County with the clinics, and the work they are doing to improve their homelessness assistance system as a community. In the next few weeks we will continue to bring you their stories and l... Read More »
The Capacity Building Team is at it again!
October 18, 2011
Our Capacity Building Team is at it again!
This fall, the Alliance's Capacity Building Team is off again conducting their Performance Improvement Clinic (formerly called the HEARTH Academy) clinics in communities across the country. Armed with the tools, models, and trainings they develop right here at the Alliance, the CAP Team helps local communities measurably improve the outcomes of their homeless assistance systems and prepare for the implementation of the HEARTH Act. The HEARTH Act, signed into law in 2009, will take significant steps to modernize and streamline the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. While HEARTH won't kick into effect until next year, it's never too early to get prepared.
In the next few months, the CAP Team will be in Oregon, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Arizona. They'll be taking with them the training tools, including the Homeless System Evaluator and the Qualitative Assessment Tools - both of which gauge the performance of local homeless assistance systems. Working together, the CAP Team and the local community can improve the way homeless people are served by the system and move towards preventing and ending homelessness.
For more information about the Capacity Building Team or the Performance Improvement Clinics, please check our website.... Read More »
Retooling the Homeless Crisis Response System
September 20, 2011
Today's post comes to us - once again! - from the Director of the Center for Capacity Building, Norm Suchar.
USICH and the Alliance will be hosting a webinar on reallocation and the HUD CoC competition this Thursday, Sept. 22 – and you should be on the call.
When the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) released Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, one of the key themes was to “Retool the Homeless Crisis Response System.” A retooled homeless crisis response prevents homelessness when possible, and when that’s not possible, provides safe shelter and helps people exit homelessness quickly, primarily through rapid re-housing.
One of the obstacles to achieving this kind of crisis response system is that a lot of the homeless assistance programs do great things, but aren’t really focused on helping people exit homelessness quickly. This is mainly an issue for transitional housing programs, but it affects services programs, shelters, and other programs as well. In a lot of cases, this lack of focus is built into their Continuum of Care grants.
That brings us to this webinar, which will describe how Continuum of Care funded programs can change.
The webinar will cover the reasons for change, different options for changing grants, program model options, and provide examples of how the process has played out in several communities. It will cover both what can be done this year and what communities should be doing to ... Read More »
Introducting: Guest bloggers, tweeters, and Facebook friends for the week
September 09, 2011
Greetings Alliance friends and supporters!
The week of September 12, we – the usual guards of the Alliance blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts – will be away from the office. But during that time, you will have the great opportunity to hear directly from some of our colleagues.
Each day, a new expert will take the reigns of our online community and share with you their perspectives on the Alliance, our work, and ending homelessness.
Monday, September 12: Elizabeth
Our resident fundraiser will share with you news from our latest Annual Report, how fundraising happens here at the Alliance, and how your hard earned donations make the difference in our program and policy work. If you have questions about the way the Alliance conducts fundraising, nonprofit development news, or have suggestions about online fundraising for the Alliance, make sure to shoot a note to Elizabeth on Facebook or Twitter on Monday!
Tuesday, September 13: Pete
Research associate and fan favorite Pete will share with you the poverty data that the U.S. Census Bureau will release that day and help break down what the data means for low-income and homeless people. It’s no surprise that many poor people are at risk of experiencing homelessness and that poverty is often associated with the highest homelessness risk factors including doubled up housing situations, severe housing cost burden, unemployment and/or low wages, and the like. Got research questions? Tuesday’s the day for them!
Wednesday, September 14: Kim &am... Read More »
The CAP Team and the Performance Improvement Clinic
June 01, 2011
While the Alliance is identifies primarily as a policy organization, we do some other things that you may not know about.
In fact, we have this great little department called the Center for Capacity Building. And lately, they’ve been really busy with a project called the Performance Improvement Clinic (formerly called the HEARTH Academy).
Refresher: In 2008, Congress passed the HEARTH Act which was intended to streamline and modernize the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. You can find out more about the HEARTH Act on our website.
The Performance Improvement Clinic is designed to prepare communities for the HEARTH Act, which is going to change the way communities both apply for federal funding under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants and they way that money can be applied within communities. Moreover, the HEARTH Act asks communities to change some of the ways they operate and measure the progress of their efforts to end homelessness and meet specific, numerical goals.
The Center for Capacity Building (CAP Team) is traveling to help communities prepare for the new legislation with an arsenal of new tools to help communities evaluate their systems and implement systems change. You can find these tools, including the Homeless System Evaluator Tool, as well as webinars, briefs, and resources on our website.
So far, the CAP Team has been to Mississippi, Iowa, Washington, Connecticut, Missouri, North Carolina, and Texas. This week, our intrepid capacity builders are in California before they hit West ... Read More »
How Coordinated Entry Works
May 25, 2011
Today's post comes to us from Kim Walker, capacity building associate at the Alliance.
The Center for Capacity Building just released our paper on developing a coordinated intake system for homeless families!
We’re so excited because we’ve gotten so many requests for more information on this approach from participants in our HEARTH Academies and other providers across the country. (Need a refresher on what coordinated entry is? Check out this blog post from Norm from a few months back.)
So, what kinds of things do we cover in this paper? Answers to questions like:
What are the different types of coordinated entry models?
How are other communities doing coordinated entry?
What changes will my system have to make in order to adopt coordinated entry?
How will I be able to tell if our coordinated entry system is functioning properly?
Not enough coordinated entry content for you?
Lucky for you, we have two webinars on coordinated entry in June.
On June 9 at 2 p.m. ET, we’ll host a webinar with Joyce Probst MacAlpine from Dayton/Montgomery County, OH, who just completed a six-month review of their brand new coordinated intake process. You can register for that webinar here.
Toward the end of June (date and time TBD), we will highlight the coordinated entry model in Columbus, OH and provide insight into their systems for singles and for families.
Still not enough? No worries – we’ll be rolling out more and mo... Read More »
Notes from the Field: A look into tribal homelessness
March 31, 2011
Today's post comes to us from Alliance Center for Capacity Building Associate Kim Walker.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to work with a group of seven different Chippewa bands located in northern Minnesota on developing ten year plans to end homelessness.
It was remarkable to learn about the struggles that many tribal nations face in defining, preventing, and ending homelessness. Tribal leaders share many of the challenges that rural areas face, like serving people spread over a large land area, finding adequate funding, and providing shelter amid a startling lack of housing infrastructure.
But beyond that, tribal homelessness is still unique.
Because tribes are officially considered sovereign nations, funding can become complicated or come with limitations that may prove difficult to overcome (i.e., some funding may be unavailable to tribes unless they are able to become an incorporated non-profit).
Additionally, homelessness, or near homelessness, on a reservation looks different than what people might expect. The Wilder Survey, one of the most comprehensive surveys of tribal homelessness, found that many Native Americans living on reservations are doubled up for long periods of time, often moving from one doubled up situation to another as long as that’s sustainable. Street homelessness is less common, meaning homelessness is less visible. Even the term “homeless” can cause confusion on a reservation, as the land itself is often considered a “home” for all tribal members.
Tribes may also struggle in gaining attention for this ... Read More »
Fun with the System Evaluator
March 15, 2011
Today's post come to us from Norm Suchar, director of the Alliance's Center for Capacity Building.
A couple months ago, we published a new tool that we’re calling the Homeless System Evaluator. Using the Evaluator, you can put in homelessness data and it will provide you with charts and graphs that help you see what parts of you homeless assistance system are working better than others. It’s a great tool for looking at the big picture.
So how does it work?
Here’s a small example, but if you want to see more, you should check it out on our website.
The chart below combines HMIS data regarding last place of residence for single individuals entering shelter and for those being served with HPRP prevention assistance. (Although I cut out some of the categories so it would fit better on this page.) It shows that a large percentage of the singles are coming from institutional settings, while most of the prevention resources are targeted to people coming from unsubsidized housing they rent. This kind of data can begin a conversation in your community about how resources are utilized, and it’s precisely the kind of thing the Evaluator was designed for.
Have questions? Send the Capacity Building Center an email.... Read More »
Take 2: The Rapid Re-Housing Clinic at the Oakland Conference
February 08, 2011
Today, we're reviewing Kim Walker's post about the day-long Rapid Re-Housing Clinic because - drumroll! - it's tomorrow! Our Center for Capacity Building will be hosting the training to educate advocates, providers, and consumers about this excellent strategy to end homelessness.
It’s that time again! It’s T – five weeks (!) until the Alliance’s National Conference on Ending Family Homelessness, set this year in Oakland, Calif.
For you veterans out there, you know that the Alliance strives to make the conference as informative, interesting, and useful as possible, chock full of workshops, meetings, plenary sessions, and group discussions. (Seriously – check out this year’s agenda.)
And we’re not planning on disappointing in February! In fact, the Alliance’s Center for Capacity Building is taking it up a notch and offering a day-long Rapid Re-Housing for Families clinic at the February conference.
Rapid re-housing is a strategy focused on returning people experiencing homelessness to permanent housing as quickly as possible by eliminating their barriers to obtaining and retaining permanent housing. Doing this effectively requires the careful implementation of a number of strategies, including effective housing search and location, landlord engagement, and home-based case management.
Needless to say, it’s not always easy – and that’s where we want to help. Our clinic will review the nuts and bolts of rapid re-housing and include interactive activities and discussions to ensure participants leave with a clear idea of how to make their rapid re-housin... Read More »