How to Record Street Outreach in HIFIS 4 (Revisited)
Street outreach involves moving outside the walls of the agency to engage people experiencing homelessness who may be disconnected and alienated not only from mainstream services and supports, but from the services targeting homeless persons as well.
Street outreach is when a worker goes outside of their place of employment to deliberately connect with people experienc…
Diversion in HIFIS 4: Recommendations Report
Built for Zero Canada and ACRE Consulting, as members of the HIFIS 4 Working Group, took the initiative to consult with communities and propose what Diversion coul…
Simple Training Time Calculator
Luckily, there's a simple way to get yourself a rough idea of how long you need to spend training your staff. We've put together a calculator where you can put in your requirements and find out how much time you need. Note that this gets you a very, very rough idea! Just a place to start.
Data Dive: Average Length of Stay for Families
Occasionally, I get asked by someone what is the average length of stay for families (as opposed to singles) in their shelter system. On the surface, this is an innocent question! I would like to know this. Wouldn't you like to know? If families are staying longer than singles, then maybe we can arrange some policies or programs that specifically target families more efficiently.
But it's actually really hard to calculate the average length of stay for a family. Not because the math is hard, bu…
Let's talk about Chronic Homelessness
Let me ask a question: how do you calculate chronic homelessness? We know that the federal definition is 6 months in the past year or 18 months in the past 3 years, but we have to deal with a lack of information - there's lots of holes in our data. So how do we address these gaps? Let's go through a few scenarios and discuss.
Our client, Aladdin, stays in our shelter every night for six months. He books in January 1st and then books out June 30. That's 181 days, so we can calculate …
How to Record Hotel/Motel Stays in HIFIS 4
HIFIS 4 has lots of great features, but one of the things that is missing is an out-of-the-box way for you to handle programs that sort of operate like shelters but sort of don’t. One example of this is communities that have a motel voucher program or something similar, in which homeless clients stay in a hotel or motel room that is paid for by a service provider. A host homes program might share similar challenges as well.
How Are Motel Stays Different?
Let’s start by discussing the key diffe…
Understanding Data Volume in Reports
At ACRE Consulting, one of the things we do a lot of is writing reports. We see a lot of different request for reports which vary in complexity from extremely simple to crazily complex. The resulting reports end up varying wildly in measures like efficiency and run-time. Some will run quickly, while others might take ages to compile (fill with data) and might even time-out (give up before completion).
We'd like to walk you through what's going on in the background of a report so you can have a …
Family Stays in HIFIS 4
It's almost universally agreed that family stays in HIFIS 4 are a little problematic, especially if you compare family stays in HIFIS 4 to HIFIS 3.
There are three challenges are for day-to-day use when it comes to front line staff at family shelters, and then even bigger problems that are hiding behind the curtain when you're trying to pull data out of the database.
First, all of the occupancy in HIFIS 4 is bed-based as opposed to room-based. Let's imagine we have a family shelter …
Fun with Custom Tables: Landlord Engagement
In HIFIS, every action typically needs to be attached to a Client. For example: you do a referral for a Client; you do a SPDAT with a Client; you make case notes about a Client. Most of the time, this isn't a problem, except when it is.
What if you have someone in your system whose job is to liaise with landlords? Perhaps a significant portion of their day is spent reaching out to landlords to negotiate for allocating some empty units (in general, not specific units) for some Housing First Cli…
Fun with Custom Tables: Consent
As mentioned in a previous article, there are some challenges in HIFIS 4 regarding the ability of users to keep track of who they're allowed to talk to about the client.
There's a Consent module in HIFIS which is really intended to keep track of whether the client has consented for you to store their data in HIFIS. This is a bit of a weird assumption for some communities, who point out that it could be potentially redundant. If staff are well trained and they're getting informed consent from al…