The Hampden County CoC’s Performance and Outcomes Committee met on September 19, 2013.
Present: Jennifer Lucca (Samaritan Inn), Dawn DiStefano (YWCA), Jeff Langlois (Providence Ministries), Kathryn Buckley-Brawner (Catholic Charities), Jay Levy (Eliot), Jesus Arce (Springfield Ofice of Housing), Dave Havens (MHA), Gerry McCafferty (City of Springfield).
Review of 2012-2013 Performance
The committee reviewed a draft spreadsheet showing information about a variety of individual performance measures for each program funded by the CoC. The final spreadsheet data will eventually be made available to the CoC Application Committee and the CoC Board of Directors, but the data reviewed today was incomplete, and some agencies identified potential errors. Agencies will have the opportunity to clean their data and correct errors before perfotrmance results are made public. Today’s review provided an initial discussion about limitations and opportunities about this type of program measurement.
Discussion of Performance Measures/Outcomes
The report on program performance measures/outcomes was provided in a new, expanded format than in previous years, in order to start a discussion of the types of data the CoC should be measuring, both to come into compliance with the HEARTH Act, and also to understand and improve our homeless response system. See the attached CoC Program Performance Report to see the proposed measurement points. (And great thanks to Andrea Miller for providing the template, which I have adapted and combined with the template previously used by our CoC.)
The committee provided feedback on a number of items:
- The committee thought it would be helpful to divide the average length of stay for ‘stayers’ and ‘leavers,’ rather than combining into a single length of stay.
- A concern with the measure of ‘exit to permenent housing’; the group noted that there are other successful exits and suggested exploring ‘successful exit’ or ‘appropriate exit.’ For example, the group noted that, for a person with serious health issues, a successful exit might include exit to a long-term care placement.
- Agencies noted that it can be hard to determine just what to include for ‘leverage.’ Gerry McCafferty agreed to put together some guidance on this issue.
- The final section was left blank, to include ‘Community Measures’ that our CoC sets for itself. The discussion indicated that it would be helpful to include measures that go to the vulnerability or the difficulty of housing particular clients. Examples (that can be pulled from data collected) include 1)whether entrance to a program is from streets/shelter (vs. other programs), and the existence of 2 or 3 co-occurring disorders. The committee will work on this issue more in a future meeting.
- There was a general concern that the performance measurement report does not tell the full story, for many reasons, including the fact that some programs are very small, so overall percentages are subject to great fluctuation from one reporting period to the next and do not fully reflect a program’s performance. Concerns are in the context of the data being used to take any action against the program (for example, corrective actions, or decisions not to recommend for renewal funding) . The committee agreed that, before relying on any negative performance measures, it is important to really understand what the measures mean and what individual factors have influenced a particular measure for a particular program.
- There was a suggestion to look at the data on a quarterly basis, rather than annually, in order to enable programs to make corrections as soon as performance issues are noted. This is something that high-performing CoCs do, and we have the capacity to do this. Once we settle on the outcomes to measure, we will begin to compile these reports quarterly.
- There was interest in seeing similar measures for programs other than those funded by the CoC. The ultimate goal is to be able to measure outcomes for all programs and the system as a whole, but we have started with the programs that we have the best data for and for which the CoC is accountable.
The committee decided to meet again in a month, and set the next meeting date for Thursday, October 17, 10: am, at the Office of Housing, 1600 E. Columbus Ave., Springfield. The Performance and Outcomes Committee is open to anyone who is interested in participating.