Unsheltered Provider in HMIS

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In our 80-county CoC, we only have 4 counties with any PATH Outreach projects. This leaves most of our CoC without any funded, intentional outreach services. When we first built our Vets list, we were adding unsheltered households to the list manually. For our Point in Time Count, our CoC staff was hand-tallying all the unsheltered forms to manually add those numbers into the sheltered data coming from HMIS. We knew that putting together our Coordinated Entry workflow was going to be equally unwieldy if we did not sort out how to account for those unsheltered households across all of these processes.

So we created an Unsheltered provider near the top of our provider tree with the intent of testing the idea out for the 2017 PIT Count. It definitely made reporting much easier, but please note this is outside Bowman's recommended unsheltered workflow!! I had to modify the PIT report to get it to pull in the clients in the Unsheltered provider, so before you head in this direction, please ask your Mediware CSR for the recommended unsheltered PIT workflow. The reason we did not go with that workflow is we need this provider not only for the PIT, but also for the various by name/prioritization lists we have going.

This year, prior to the Point in Time Count, we plan on sending out a list of those clients who are in the Unsheltered provider along with a description of where they are so that enumerators can try to find them. We will either close out their Entry Exit if they cannot be found, or add a Contact if they are. After the count, we will enter all of the unsheltered households for whom we receive counts into the provider, and then send out another list with locations for where to go find those counted so they can be housed. This helps us to use the PIT Count as an outreach tool.

The other processes in which the Unsheltered provider plays a part are Coordinated Entry, Veteran By Name List, Chronic By Name List, and general Outreach in the Balance of State.

Setup-wise, the Unsheltered provider is added to every user's EDA list. We outlined an Unsheltered Workflow that requires users to do things slightly different than on their other workflow. The main differences are- they have to create a "Case Manager" record on the Head of Household and every client must have a "Contact" for every contact made with the client. Both of these steps are important because they allow the client to be found again and there's a person and an agency responsible for each unsheltered client. The other very important piece of this workflow is we have added a County field to all our assessments (including this one) so that households can be sorted geographically.

Of course the potential problems with such a widely-used provider is that it will be a heap of impossible-to-untangle mess of households with no exit, no followup, not enough information to find the households with, etc. We are rolling this provider out with its own Data Quality report that catch these problems as they begin so that course correction is easier.

For Coordinated Entry, unsheltered households are entered into the Unsheltered provider along with their VI-SPDAT scores since any unsheltered household should be immediately assessed and prioritized. These clients then show up, along with sheltered clients, on the "PSH and RRH Prioritization by County" report that our Homeless Planning Regions use for Coordinated Entry. This prevents the "get this data out of HMIS, add it to Google docs, and manually add unsheltered clients, then next week update everything you already did in HMIS manually on the spreadsheet....." This report can be run on any grouping of counties.

Our Vet By-Name List (which of course has no names on it) also pulls unsheltered veterans for export to our Google doc. (We are moving the whole process to HMIS in early 2018.)

Our Chronic By-Name List (also no names) has been created within HMIS, but Coordinated Entry has kind of taken over this mission of housing the highest-needs clients first. However, we do have a Chronic By-Name List that we're keeping an eye on and it pulls those unsheltered households in as well.

We are knee-deep in rolling this out, so I may update this post as we learn new things. In the meantime, feel free to check out our workflow, mission, how we use it for the PIT Count, and how we use it for the Vets BNL.