Calgary Homeless Foundation is developing a Community Data Hub – an initiative that streamlines work for agencies and provides a fuller picture of people’s needs on their journey home.
The purpose of the Community Data Hub is to free agencies from repetitive data entry, giving them more time with clients. Currently, agencies must enter information into our database, the Homeless Management Information System, as well as their own and those of other funders. This process is inefficient, and the reports we generate is limited and only produced every three months.
With the Community Data Hub, staff will only need to enter data about their clients once. They will also be able to access reports about their clients in real time, enabling them to see trends to help them manage their programs.
The hub will also provide a more complete picture of clients’ journeys. Drawing on data from other systems like Health and Justice, predictive tools based on artificial intelligence will calculate the risks for each client, including their risk of returning to homelessness. In this way, the hub will help agencies design programs and solutions that are tailored to a client’s unique needs.
Finally, the Community Data Hub lets us collaborate with research partners, giving us a better understanding of what innovations create the best results for our clients.
So what does all this mean for the most important people – those experiencing homelessness?
More attention. Agencies will have more time to spend directly with clients, because they won’t need to dedicate staff time to data entry. Clients will immediately get better personalized and immediate service.
Less trauma. Clients won’t need to answer questions about themselves repeatedly.
Higher quality service. With real-time access to relevant information (such as a client’s housing, health, or how well they have been served by other programs), agencies are better able to direct clients to programs that are best-placed to help them find their way home.
Support from NOVA Chemical and the Poelzer Family Foundation Fund is helping us build the first piece of this ambitious, multi-year initiative. Stay tuned for further updates, and information on how you can help make the Community Data Hub a reality!