Guide and coordinate the efforts of agencies that make up Calgary’s homeless-serving system of care;
Measure the success of the programs we fund, and
Inform our research.
We collect data through the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), the richest database on homelessness in Canada. It tells us who is accessing Calgary’s homeless-serving system of care and their unique needs. We then develop effective and innovative ways to help them and improve the programs and services we fund.
How do we collect data and what do we do with it?
When people experiencing homelessness approach an agency, they fill out a questionnaire that is entered into the HMIS and reviewed by Calgary Homeless Foundation and other agencies at weekly meetings.
Based on the data, we determine the severity of a person’s need and connect them to appropriate programs and services. This process, called “triaging,” is at the heart of what we do and you can learn more about it here.
In addition to assessing people’s needs, we look at data to determine if programs are achieving their aims and if people are receiving the care and help they need
Data also provides the raw material for us on to conduct research, which helps us identify ways we can improve the system of care. For example, in 2017, we helped house 109 people who had been living in shelters for years, thanks to data from Calgary Alpha House Society, The Calgary Drop In & Rehab Centre and The Mustard Seed Shelter.
The data revealed that adults who had been chronically homeless for 5, 10, and sometimes 20 years, were falling through the cracks because their needs were never “acute” enough on the existing scoring system to be triaged for housing.
As a result, we launched a pilot program providing housing spaces for 109 chronic shelter users. The discovery also changed the way we assess clients’ needs.
You can read more about how data and research changed people’s lives here.
Calgary Homeless Foundation Rocky Mountain Plaza Suite 1500, 615 Macleod Trail SE Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2G 4T8