MDHI Launches New Prevention Affinity Group
The first meeting of the Homeless Prevention Affinity Group was held on September 7th. Over a dozen representatives from homeless prevention providers and other concerned parties engaged in a conversation about what prevention resources are available now and ways in which a gathering of providers could be useful.
Shelly Hines of Jewish Family Services reported on the previous gatherings of a Prevention Group that included a mission statement, sharing best practices, a coordinated entry system with shared case managers and a centralized phone system for accessing available resources. This group met on a monthly basis but eventually stopped meeting when the grant funding ended.
The group discussed documentation requirements and intake procedures. Documentation requirements often require eviction notices or evidence of a loss of income, but some can be more stringent. Municipal programs can have further requirements, such as the development of a formalized plan for moving into new housing and evidence that a crisis has emerged within the last 30 days. Intake procedures often include education about resources outside of the particular agency or the OneHome system, as it was widely agreed there aren’t nearly enough resources available for any of the providers to match the need in the population.
There was a consensus that a prevention group could perform several valuable services for the prevention community. One was facilitating the creation of a database of available prevention resources that is updated on a monthly basis by each participating provider. Data collection was another way in which a prevention group could be useful, by comparing recipients of homeless prevention funds with those entering into shelters or homeless programs later on. It was suggested that a short list of important criteria or data points could be developed and then each participating agency could collect that information from each client during the intake process, and again at follow-up, eventually in HMIS. The group can evaluate the effectiveness of prevention services and find out system-wide changes for improvement.
Finally, it was decided that there is sufficient interest in the community to sustain a monthly meeting of the Prevention Group. If you are interested in participating, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to be added to the email list.