Core Performance Indicators for Homeless-Serving Programs Administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Analysis of Measures Derived from Homeless Administrative Data Systems (HADS)


This chapter synthesizes the results of interviews with administrators and a review of relevant background documentation on the operations of homeless administrative data systems (HADS) in five localitiesВ  (1) New York City, NY; (2) Madison, WI; (3) Kansas City, KS; (4) Columbus, OH; and (5) Honolulu, HI. This study activity was focused on (1) collection of background information about homeless registry approaches or HADS and (2) analysis of the potential that the data collection methods and measures employed in these systems might have for enhancing performance measurement in the DHHS homeless-serving programs that are the overall focus of this project.

With input from DHHS, we selected five HADS (in New York City, Madison, Columbus, Kansas City, and Honolulu) for study. In the Summer 2002, we interviewed (by telephone) system administrators about the operations of each of the five HADS (see Appendix B for a copy of the discussion guide). Agency officials were very cooperative in terms of sharing both their knowledge of and perspectives on their systems (including some of the problems and limitations of such systems), as well as in providing background documentation about main features and data elements included in their systems. In addition, in several instances, we were able to view the HADS via Internet websites provided by the sites. Project staff also conducted a follow-up site visit in the Summer 2002 to New York Citys Department of Homeless Services to interview staff in greater depth and obtain additional background information on the operation of HADS. The New York system was selected for a site visit because of: (1) the very large number of homeless individuals on which the system maintains information (e.g., estimated at nearly one million homeless individuals); (2) the long time that the system has been operational (since the mid-1980s); (3) the systems focus exclusively on tracking homeless individuals and families; and (4) the fact that the Department is currently making a transition to a new system that will use the latest in hardware and software technologies.

Based on the results of our interviews and review of background documentation, project staff analyzed key features of the selected HADS and the implications of these systems for enhancing performance measurement in DHHS homeless-serving programs. Appendix C provides copies of some background documentation on key features of these systems.

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