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Scope of Work

Project Goals and Objectives

The immediate goal of this project is to determine the feasibility of creating and using an integrated information resource to assess the effectiveness of services to homeless families and single adults. It seeks to identify the policy, management, and technology barriers to producing a comprehensive integrated information resource and to determine whether and how they can be overcome. In addition, one of the expected benefits from the use of the integrated information is new knowledge about the effectiveness of programs. This new knowledge can be directly applied to program planning and resource allocation decisions that guide service programs for the homeless.

In more general terms, the project seeks to increase understanding of the risks and benefits associated with efforts to integrate multiple disparate data sources into a newly integrated resource to support decision making and planning in the public sector. The project will explore mechanisms for mitigating the risks and realizing the benefits. It will make recommendations regarding the policy, management, and technology issues that must be addressed by any organization with similar goals and resources.

To achieve these goals, three parallel tracks of activity will be undertaken:

  1. Develop and evaluate a standard for evaluating homeless services.
  2. Develop and evaluate a set of standard definitions for services provided to the homeless population.
  3. Develop and evaluate a prototype Homeless Information Management System designed to provide state and local government managers and local shelter providers with information needed to more effectively evaluate, plan, and manage their programs.

Specifically, the following set of questions will be addressed in this project:

  • What are the policy, management, and technology barriers to integrating multiple disparate sources of data about homeless families and adults, the services they receive, and the programs that provide those services?
  • What mechanisms can be developed or adapted to address these barriers?
  • Is the information being collected today sufficient to address the service's assessment goals? If not, what other information is needed?
  • Does the prototype system deliver its expected value? Does it add value at the management level? Does it add value at the service delivery level? Why or why not?
  • What policy, management, and technology changes are required at the State level and in the provider agencies to take full advantage of the new resource?