The Hampden County CoC Performance & Outcomes Committee met Thursday, December 19, 10-11 am.

Present: Kathryn Buckley-Brawner (Catholic Charities), Jay Levy (Eliot), Patty McDonnell (Open Pantry/SMOC), Jennifer Lucca (Samaritan Inn), Jeffrey Langlois (Providence/Loreto House, Gerry McCafferty (City of Springfield).  


The Committee continued its discussion of appropriate measurement and reporting of performance.  We noted that there are several different components of the work we are doing and the goals we are looking to define:

  • Performance measurement related to evaluation of renewal applications for funding;
  • Performance measurement on an ongoing basis that provides a feedback loop for providers, informing them on a regular basis of where performance is high and where it needs improvement, assisting them to focus on areas in need of improvement and supporting a process in which providers who are strong on certain metrics provide assistance to those who struggle in meeting expected outcomes on those ,measures; and
  • Measuring both the performance and ‘health’ of the CoC as a whole, which includes not only outcome measures (# homeless, length of stay, etc.), but also measures of the factors that enable us to be successful (level of participation in CoC tasks and activities, diversity of entities/populations that participate, level of HMIS participation, etc.)

Because we are in the middle of a competition, providers are currently very focused on the first component, and much of the discussion was in the context of scoring applications. However, the Committee is working to shift toward the model of regular feedback, which will be in the format of a quarterly report to the Board of Directors.  The Committee discussed the importance of providers seeing the quarterly data to know how performance is progressing through the year, but also the importance of quarterly reporting that includes both program-specific measures as well as measures of the CoC as a whole.  We discussed the need for these reports to be in a format where the areas for improvement stand out, and that quarterly reports cannot have too much detail because they can lose the ability to readily point to areas that need attention.

The Committee discussed the need to recognize and support incremental improvement. Where a program does not meet a performance measurement, the expectation should not be that they immediately move fron non-compliance to compliance.  Instead, the performance measurement for a low-performing projects should include meeting the goal OR improving 5% over the previous year.

The Committee had a focused discussion on the value of measuring member participation.  We agreed that participation and collaboration are highly valued by the CoC.  Gerry mentioned that this was not included as a scoring component in this year’s application because our CoC programs have very high rates of participation, so this isn’t a factor that serves to distinguish between programs.  However, after discussion, the Committee agreed that this is an important metric to track, not least because we will want to know early if this becomes an area where performance begins to decline.  The Committee agreed that it’s important to track at both the program and the CoC level.

The Committee discussed the need to explicitly decide on what level of expectation there is regarding participation (and, generally, for all measures).  There was agreement that agencies cannot be expected to participate in all meetings, so a suggestion that it may be defined more along the lines of, for example, participation in at least one subcommittee. Committee members agreed that its important to weigh equally participation in the CoC or the Network, as both entities are advancing the same agenda and are more or less active at different times on different issues.

Next Meeting: The Committee will meet Thursday, January 16, 10 am, at the Springfield Office of Housing, 1600 E. Columbus Ave., Springfield.

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