Fast Company covered the partnership between Community Solutions and Tableau Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Tableau Software, to eliminate veteran and chronic homelessness in 50 communities by 2025. Tableau Foundation announced an investment of $1.3 million in software, services, and financial support that will expand the use of data and analytics by Built for Zero communities across the country.
Being able to easily track the data helped communities in the program shift “from incremental improvement to transformational results,” said Rosanne Haggerty, president of Community Solutions.
Tableau saw parallels to the work that it had done in Zambia to help the country track its work to eliminate malaria; before using a data visualization tool, the government there had struggled to see who was contracting malaria and how they were being treated. In planning meetings, the government had been using outdated data from the previous year. As in American cities tackling homelessness through multiple agencies, Zambia wasn’t seeing a systems-level view of the situation and couldn’t respond strategically. After it started working with real-time dashboards, it was able to reduce malaria deaths by more than 90%, and reduce malaria cases by more than 80%.
The company saw the potential for similar transformation of work on homelessness. “For decades, homelessness organizations would collect data, and they would send it to HUD,” says Neal Myrick, global head of the Tableau Foundation. “…And the information wasn’t really usable to the people who needed it on the ground to make active decisions about what to do day-to-day to better solve the problem.”