A New Capacity Center Tool

written by naehblog
August 17, 2010

Today’s post comes from Kimberly Walker, a Capacity Building Associate here at the Alliance.

Kim WalkerHello all! Kim here. As part of the Center for Capacity Building, my job is to help communities improve their homeless systems. As part of that mission, I’m working on the Center’s new Ending Family Homelessness Tool and Pilot Project (or the EFHT/PP). I’ve been told this may be of interest to our blog readers, so I thought I’d give you a synopsis of what exactly it is.

The Tool

This tool turns what the Alliance staff has learned over the years about best practices in ending homelessness, what we’ve learned from theHomelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP), and the new Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act requirements into a measuring stick for communities. The EFHT will hopefully encourage communities to use these standards to judge where their system is now and where it needs to be in order for them to end family homelessness.

The tool has several different parts (some that are finished, some that are still being developed/considered):

1) A set of three surveys regarding what communities think about their homeless system

2) A data collection worksheet

3) A resource list

4) A planning document

5) A check-in document (after a plan has been made), and

6) A community forum

As a final product, we hope to create a completely web-based version of these documents that communities can use to analyze their data and create an action plan without Alliance intervention. Communities wanting technical assistance, like Lincoln, NE, will have the option of working with us more closely. Speaking of Lincoln…

The Pilot Project

Iain DeJong of OrgCode Consulting, Inc. and I will first be piloting this project with Lincoln, NE. This week is the first of a total of three visits we’ll be paying them. In preparation for it, homeless providers, staff, and consumers are taking our surveys, and Iain and I have been reviewing the data they’ve sent to us about homelessness in Lincoln. On Day 1 of this initial visit we’ll be getting to know Lincoln’s key stakeholders and presenting our findings (based on our analysis of the aforementioned data and surveys). On our second day there, we’ll present the group with a document to help them prioritize which problems to solve, think through next steps, and decide which resources to use in their search for solutions. By the end of our two-day stay, we hope to have the beginnings of a plan that will get our friends in Nebraska confident that they will be able to change their system for the better.

The Trip

I’m Nebraska bound on Wednesday evening – wish me luck! I’m excited to A) have the chance to be working with a community on an issue I’m passionate about, B) put what we’ve done with the tool so far to the test, and C) cross Nebraska off my “States I’ve Never Been To” list. I’ll be reporting back once I return…until then!