This final section summarizes the report’s data system integration findings and offers ideas for how housing data systems can be improved through further study and policy development.
There were numerous challenges in analyzing the HOPWA and RWP housing services. The data were compiled from several different sources that did not have identical collection methods. Some variables were collected across both programs, but the variables were collected in different formats and on different timelines. Other variables were collected in one program but not the other, which made comparisons difficult. In addition, HOPWA data are collected at an aggregate level, whereas RWP data are collected at the client level as of 2010.
- Adding client-level variables that are common to both housing and HIV care programs, especially data variables that capture the assistance received from both programs, would allow linkage of the programs’ databases and facilitate research examining services received and outcomes for participants served by both types of programs.
The implementation of the RSR in 2010 allowed for a comparison of the housing status of RWP clients who received housing services to the status of those who did not. This is particularly helpful for understanding the subset of RWP clients who are receiving housing assistance. There was also a great deal of variation across states in almost all the analyses. Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine whether or not these differences in housing status existed prior to program enrollment or as a result of services received, since most RSR variables are reported “as of end of the reporting period.”
- Increased understanding of these subgroup differences could help to inform and improve RWP housing practices around the unique needs of clients with housing needs. It may also be valuable to explore state-level differences housing status in greater detail.
The qualitative analysis found that many factors affected the coordination and integration of the IHHP grantees’ HMIS, HOPWA, and CAREWare data systems. The owners of these systems need to have the capacity, funding, interest, and timing to work together to integrate their systems.
- It will be important to revisit the IHHP sites at the end of their three-year grant period to see what they have accomplished in developing more integrated data systems.
At the data systems level of integration, the development of common intake and assessment systems for HUD’s CoC programs creates an opportunity to enhance HMIS systems to accommodate a “no wrong door” approach to client intake, assessment, and service provision from any of three entry points through HOPWA, RWP, Medicaid, or other patient-centered medical home options.
- The creation of this new CoC intake system might involve developing new linkages among HMIS, CAREWare, and electronic health record data systems. This development should be monitored and studied.