The Mayor's Office of Homeless Services (MOHS) has launched the Non-Congregate Shelter and Rehousing Dashboard.
We're proud to join other City agencies and partners in providing greater transparency, accountability, and access as we work together to build a more open Baltimore with with data-driven solutions to homelessness.
CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN INTERACTIVE DASHBOARD
A Homeless Response System that Uses Data to Rehouse People Experiencing Homelessness
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, homeless service providers made necessary and life-saving changes to mitigate the impact and limit the spread of the virus. Now, the City and its funded providers are using data to transition to long-term, more sustainable housing solutions.
In response to COVID-19 and through the funding support of FEMA, the City of Baltimore used local hotels to temporarily move people residing in shelters to non-congregate settings. These hotels also accepted referrals from outreach to help unsheltered individuals who were medically vulnerable to COVID-19. Congregate shelters that remained in operation were required to comply with CDC guidelines to reduce capacity and safely social distance.
At its peak, approximately 500 clients reside in these hotels on any given night and, approximately 1400 total clients have sheltered with us since this model was implemented. This model is a short-term solution during the pandemic and we have begun to systematically decrease the number of clients residing in hotels.
Data is central to this effort and critical in guiding strategic decisions for the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services (MOHS). Collecting data and tracking clients over an extended period of time can be challenging for a community as transient as the homeless community but sheltering in place gave MOHS an opportunity to utilize a data-driven approach to rehousing.
Now, the data we’re using to strategically house our hotel clients is available to view here on MOHS’ website. The Non-Congregate Shelter and Rehousing Dashboard was with developed in collaboration with Built for Zero. It shows the current status of our hotel clients – as identified by hotel of residence, shelter program, race, gender, age and Coordinated Access enrollment – as well as their status overtime. The dashboard also displays the length of time clients are residing in hotels and their housing or exit outcomes.
Through data analysis, we identify trends in the population and direct resources where needed to increase permanent housing outcomes. For example, we identified that many clients experience a roadblock in the housing process because they lacked vital identity documents needed to enter a lease agreement. These documents are often lost, stolen, or left behind during a housing crisis. To help mitigate this roadblock, MOHS partnered with the Maryland Motor Vehicle and the Social Security administrations to streamline the process for people experiencing homelessness to receive copies of their state ID and Social Security Card. Full news release for the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration is available in the News section of this website.
Additionally, in collaboration with the Lived Experience Advisory Committee (LEAC), Amazon Web Services and New America, we developed and piloted My Digital Data Locker Baltimore – a web-based tool that gives people experiencing homelessness a secure place to manage digital copies of vital documents needed to obtain housing services. Full news release for My Digital Data Locker Baltimore is available in the News serction of this website.
This administration champions using technology to increase transparency and accountability. By making this tool publicly available, all stakeholders and interested parties can track the progress of our rehousing efforts. It takes a community-wide effort to house our neighbors experiencing homelessness and now the community has access to data that will aid in that effort. However, raw data alone does not tell the complete story and MOHS will continue to analyze the data and present it in ways that are easily understood and provide appropriate nuance. One such example of this is the analysis of the number of people who had a temporary Housing Outcome such as emergency shelter. This number is high relative to the other Housing Outcomes; the reason is because it accounts for the several hundred clients who were transferred in March 2020 from congregate shelters to non-congregate hotels to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.
If you have questions about data presented in the dashboard, please contact the HMIS Helpdesk.
We want to replicate the use of data tools to analyze the entire homeless response system in Baltimore City. We will do this in collaboration with Baltimore’s Continuum of Care (CoC) to better understand the barriers and gaps in Coordinated Access so that we can decrease the length of time someone experiences homelessness and increase our ability to house people.
We look forward to the evolution of this initiative and the reduction of people experiencing homelessness in the City of Baltimore.