Today, the Navigation Team submitted its latest report to City Council providing a snapshot of the team’s significant outreach in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Q2 (April – June).
In response to COVID-19, the Navigation Team has focused its efforts to outreach and litter/debris removal. This refocusing in Q2 resulted in 373 site visits for outreach, 624 litter and debris mitigation operations, and 408 referrals to shelter citywide.
Since the beginning of the outbreak in March through Q2, the team has had over 4,700 conversations with people experiencing homelessness about COVID-19, provided over 2,500 hygiene kits, distributed over 2,300 COVID-19 and hepatitis A related public health flyers, handed out over 1,100 boxed meals, and supplied 400 masks to individuals living unsheltered.
Engagements by the team’s System Navigators (which are the team’s outreach workers) in Q2 led to an 82.8% quarter over quarter increase in the number of unduplicated referrals to shelter and a 239% increase in the number of unduplicated enrollments into shelter, at an enrollment rate of 41.16%1. That compares to an enrollment rate of 22.22% last quarter. The 149 identified unduplicated enrollments in Q2 were the most in a quarter since the Navigation Team started tracking enrollments2 with the previous high for enrollments being 76 in Q1 2019.
Of all referrals into shelter in Q2, 49% were into Tiny Homes, 44% were into Enhanced Shelter, and 7% were into Basic Shelter. This compares to Q1 2020 when 8% of referrals were into Tiny Homes, 54% were into Enhanced Shelter, and 38% were into Basic Shelter. These numbers reflect the addition of 95-new Enhanced Shelter and Tiny Home units in mid-April and the expansion of Enhanced Shelter options in response to COVID-19.
Benefiting from the addition of a third System Navigator outreach specialist in March, and a result of focused outreach in response to COVID-19, System Navigators made 1,502 duplicated and 1,155 unduplicated engagements. A significant increase compared to Q1 2020 which included 847 duplicated and 635 unduplicated System Navigator engagements.
The team’s Field Coordinators, front line workers who assess the needs of hundreds of encampment sites citywide, completed 1,061 site inspections in Q2, a 92% quarter over quarter increase. These site inspections provide “eyes on the ground” and are essential for the Navigation Team to effectively allocate outreach and encampment mitigation resources.
NavApp 2.0 launched in April, the latest update to the Navigation Team’s data management system. Enhancements to the NavApp were built on the significant upgrades made throughout last year and based on user feedback from the Navigation Team to better serve the community by streamlining data collection processes, and improving data accuracy and reporting.
1 Referrals to shelter by the Navigation Team in the NavApp can be matched with HMIS data to identify enrollments into shelter but there are numerous caveats which makes tracking this information difficult including, but not limited to, if an individual:
– Provided different personally identifying information (such as a name) in either the NavApp or HMIS;
– Opted to not share their personal information with other parties (24% of all HMIS shelter enrollments did not include a name, making it impossible to connect them to any Navigation Team data);
– Enrolled at a shelter other than the one they were referred to.
2 A change in method to identify enrollments was used in Q2 to be more accurate and may account for part of the increase.