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Where HUD’s System Performance Measures Meet Your By-Name List

  |  August 23, 2017

The Built for Zero team at Community Solutions spends all day thinking about real-time, person-specific data. 

Of course, we’re kidding (or are we…?), but it is true that a real-time, comprehensive, by-name list of everyone experiencing homelessness in a community is the essential first step to getting everyone housed. We don’t know of any community that’s found a shortcut.
Thankfully, a good by-name list also contains the foundational elements for a strong coordinated entry system, and using our CES Builder suite of scorecards to build your by-name list will put you on the fast track to meeting HUD’s CES requirements while also supplying you with the key data you need to pull and evaluate the federal System Performance Measures.
In this post, we’ve matched the questions on our By-Name List Scorecard to HUD’s System Performance Measures to make it easier for you to pull the information you need.

Outflow: Getting people into housing (and making sure they stay there)

The first batch of HUD System Performance Measures relates to housing placements. If you can answer yes to By-Name List Scorecard question #3 on our by-name list scorecard, requiring you to timestamp each change to a person’s homeless status, then you have what you need for HUD Measure 1, length of time homeless. (You also have additional data you can use to track a person’s journey through your housing system.)
To nail Measure 7, successful placement and retention of housing, start with By-Name List Scorecard question #10, which asks you to track the number of people who return to homelessness in your community after housing placement. Compare that data to your monthly housing placements to arrive at your local housing retention rate.
That’s the magic of using Community Solutions’ CES Builder suite of scorecards— it can transform major system changes into small items for your to-do list.

Count people who are actively homeless

Let’s talk about a place where the standard for a by-name list is especially high: HUD Measure 3, number of homeless persons. A good by-name list should be real-time, meaning you can pull the actual number of people experiencing homelessness in your community right now, today. (OK, we’ll settle for this month’s data…) You need current and comprehensive data in order to make effective decisions— like how to shift programs and policies, or how to target housing resources. Pulling your data annually or quarterly may help check system health, but it won’t do nearly enough to accelerate the pace at which you end homelessness.
Using your by-name list to its fullest potential requires fresh data. Don’t settle for data that’s been sitting on the shelf!

Inflow: Reduce the number of people becoming homeless

By-Name List Scorecard question #7 tracks people who are assessed for the first time, which gets you to HUD Measure 5, first time homeless. (This one is a pretty clean overlap.) Measure 2 asks for returns to homelessness, which our By-Name List Scorecard will help you track in finer detail by asking both for individuals returning from the inactive list and individuals returning from previous housing placements. The added detail is important because you will never reduce your community’s inflow until you understand precisely where it’s coming from and why.

What’s left

Alas, as much as we love our By-Name List Scorecard, it won’t get you every single one of HUD’s System Performance Measures; two remain. Measure 4, job and income growth, and Measure 6, tracking families and youth, lie outside Built for Zero’s scope right now. (HUD says that no CoC is ready to report Measure 6, yet, but we encourage you to get started anyway!)
Remember, at the end of the day, your by-name list should give you the data you need to measure and improve your system performance on the way to ending homelessness. For help getting the most out of your data, talk with your Built for Zero coach, or if you aren’t in the Built for Zero Collaborative yet, reach out to Jake Maguire on our team for more information.
Take our scorecard to check how your local by-name list system compares to our standard.