Below is a brief summary about new capabilities the Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) are now able to apply when analyzing Navigation Team outreach data.
When the Navigation Team launched nearly three years ago, previous administrations did not invest in robust and consistent data support to better understand the team’s impact in the field. To address this, Mayor Durkan and City Council made critical investments to expand the team and to provide data support. Today, no other City-funded or -led outreach program has reporting mechanisms, data analysis, or data capture abilities as substantial as the Navigation Team.
Mayor Durkan asked the Innovation and Performance team to create the Performance Seattle Dashboard to take a cross-departmental look at the City’s work in a number of priorities, one of which is homelessness. This dashboard provides a high-level overview of the outcomes of subcabinet work, and we have been responding to media inquiries about it. The Navigation Team is one critical part of the City’s larger homelessness response efforts to help unsheltered persons move to safer places. The larger homelessness response system is also producing strong indicators that efforts to ensure homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring are working. HSD’s performance metrics show that 20% more households were served, a 6% increase of households moved from homelessness to housing, and over 2,000 unique households remained stably housed in permanent supportive housing in the second quarter of 2019, when compared to the previous year.
HSD has also improved our ability to analyze the Navigation Team’s ability to connect people to shelter. The Navigation Team has its own database called the NavApp. This system complements the larger Homelessness Management Information System (HMIS), which all other providers use.
The Navigation Team, along with all City-contracted outreach agencies, is responsible for making the referrals to shelter. They track this in the NavApp. However, enrollment in the shelter is then the responsibility of the shelter agency, and they enter their data in HMIS.
HSD can now match some NavApp data with HMIS data sets. The information provided below reflects individuals who appeared in both the NavApp and HMIS at a specific shelter within 48 hours of the referral to shelter. An individual will not be reflected in this data set if they:
- Provided different personally identifying information (such as a name) in either the NavApp or HMIS;
- Enrolled at a shelter beyond those first 48 hours;
- Opted to not share their personal information with other parties (which accounts for 24% of all HMIS data);
- Enrolled at a shelter other than the one they were referred to; or
- Accepted a referral within the two-week period of the February snowstorm.
The data shows that In Q1 of 2019, 53 individuals were successfully matched back between NavApp and HMIS data. In Q2, 75 individuals were successfully matched between the systems (the data matched between the two systems is ultimately baseline data and more referrals are likely enrolling in shelter, but we are unable to verify additional enrollments at this time).
When compared with all other City-funded outreach providers, this data shows the Navigation Team accounted for 50 percent of all shelter enrollments in quarter 1 and 45 percent in quarter 2 of 2019 when all outreach provider data is included. Here is a breakdown of the Navigation Team’s performance compared to our partner outreach programs:
- Nav Team Q1 Referrals: 203
- Nav Team Q1 HMIS/Matchback Enrollments: 53
- All Outreach Programs Q1 Referrals: 99
- All Outreach Programs Q1 HMIS Enrollments: 54
- Nav Team Q2 Referrals: 224
- Nav Team Q2 HMIS/Matchback Enrollments: 75
- All Outreach Programs Q2 Referrals: 137
- All Outreach Programs Q2 HMIS Enrollments: 93
These data sets show the Navigation Team and outreach providers are seeing success in connecting vulnerable people to shelter. It is also important to note that this analysis is specifically for referrals to shelters, which is the result of relationship building, time, conversations, and matching an individual (or sometimes groups of individuals) to a unique shelter resources. Contacts, which is not part of this analysis, are a much more broad and transactional activity that often denotes the “first touch” between a Navigation Team outreach worker and someone living unsheltered. As you know, simply walking through an encampment trying to contact someone is much different than a deeper conversation with an individual about a referral to a tiny house village and arranging for transportation. Using contacts to define the success of referrals is misguided, detracting from the type of work and success the team is having in the field and we caution against making such assessments.
The Navigation Team remains the City’s leading response to the unsheltered crisis. Prior to the launch of the team, the City did not have a centralized, coordinated response to address hazardous living conditions and to connect vulnerable people to shelter, let alone methods to measure these efforts. The progress from where the City stood in 2015 to where the City’s efforts stand would not be possible without the continued support and investments in both the team and in shelter resources by the Mayor and City Council.