The Task Force Times

September 2018 Edition

CEO Corner

Marching Towards San Diego's New HMIS

     Over the past month, our HMIS team has been working diligently with our new HMIS vendor, Bitfocus, to ensure that the the transition goes as smoothly as possible. At the time of this writing, our team has completed their first set of training sessions. These sessions include instructing our staff on the basics of the system ranging from how to create new client profiles to learning how to create programs within the system. As our staff get trained up on how to utilize this new system, we look forward to beginning to schedule training's for the larger community of providers. These training's will begin happening in October and we will soon be notifying providers with dates and times. 

     As these training's occur throughout the month, we will be conducting an ongoing cleanup of the data that is currently in ServicePoint in preparation for the transfer. The data will be migrating in accordance with the strict HUD guidelines and standards, as given to us by Bitfocus. After the transfer of data is completed, we will be set to open and begin using the new system in December. Although we have moved, and are moving, through this process rapidly, I have full confidence in our HMIS team and Bitfocus that the timeline proposed below is manageable and that in our New Year we an look forward to a more integrated system to better address homelessness in the San Diego region.

     Everyone invested in ending homelessness should be made aware of the exciting news that we are switching HMIS systems and have contracted with a highly adept partner, Bitfocus/Clarity software systems. You will be hearing from us shortly regarding the training's on the new system and when we plan to have the final transition to switch over to our new system. To ensure a successful transition, we are undergoing a search for an HMIS Executive Assistant who will be responsible for ensuring this successful transition. Internally there is a strong sense of excitement for this new system, and we hope that the community can share in this excitement in the coming weeks as you all become exposed to the system.

Gordon D. Walker
Chief Executive Officer
HMIS Highlights

Timeline of Implementing Our New HMIS
      In order to effectively begin the process of establishing our new HMIS system, our HMIS team has created a timeline of the steps needed to make the transition between HMIS systems a seamless process. In the interest of transparency we would like to share this timeline in order to inform the community of what this will look like and what they can expect to happen over the next few months. 
  • We began our kickoff call with BitFocus which entailed meeting the team we will be working with on implementing the new HMIS and beginning the pre-planning on data migration between system. Through conversations we developed a project plan for Bitfocus to complete.
  • This month we sent our first round of data to BitFocus of every project within HMIS that will be migrated for the initial system review and reviewed the quality of this data transmission.
  • We have completed our System Administrator Training.
  • The process has begun on configuring Clarity Installation on developing a site for testing. 
  • We have begun communication with providers on making decisions regarding "non-project providers" and providers that are "CES only." We have also began confirming system managers at individual agencies.
  • Beginning the completion of the final configurations needed (i.e. manual system set-up and 'check easy project') and also includes mapping each agency and project which may need to merge, move, etc. 
  • Start identifying migration issues, errors, and test reports in comparison to the previous database through numerous rounds of testing. 
  • Bitfocus will test the final configurations which is to include data scripts. They will also test a migration to the configured development site. 
  • Begin training the trainers. Bitfocus will provider training for RTFH staff and provider training manuals.
  • Once the above step is complete, RTFH staff will start training users through the end of November. 
  • Conduct final data clean-up that may be needed after the migration.
  • There will be ongoing testing throughout the month as a final review of the system to ensure a smooth roll-out to the community.
  • The RTFH will begin communicating a countdown to "Go Live" to the entire Continuum of Care so that everyone is well aware of the date.
  • This will include drop-dates for pulling necessary reports and communication on how to get data out of ServicePoint database
  • We will go live! 
  • This includes removing access from ServicePoint. There will be blackout dates (most likely over a weekend).
  • There will be confirmation of those who wish to purchase continued access to ServicePoint. 
We hope this gives you a brief understanding of the work our HMIS team will be doing in the coming months as we gear up for the launch of Clarity. This is a huge undertaking, and we can't stress enough how thankful we are for your patience and understanding as we undergo this endeavor. We're confident that once the system is up-and-running, the community will be elated with our new HMIS.
Continuum of Care Notice
New Pilot Program Connecting Clients to the
San Diego Workforce Partnership

     The RTFH is excited for a brand new collaborative opportunity that will help folks enrolled in Rapid Rehousing programs become connected with the services offered at the San Diego Workforce Partnership. This pilot program will seek to provide employment services to approximately 300 households over a 3 years period and test targeted employment strategies for households seeking to gain employment while enrolled in Rapid Rehousing. Through promoting the integration of intentional employment services with Rapid Rehousing programs we hope to empower folks to maintain their rental unit that RRH subsidizes and to become financially independent. 

    Through this program, we hope to apply the lessons learned to our larger network of Rapid Rehousing programs, employment programs, and the larger San Diego homeless system as a whole. Individuals interested in services will be referred to San Diego Workforce Partnership, who will then conduct a brief assessment on what level of employment services the client will need. We would like to extend a huge thanks to our partners committed to the success of this program: San Diego Workforce Partnership, KRA Corporation, San Diego Housing Commission, Father Joe's Villages, South Bay Community Services, Home Start, and PATH. For folks interested in learning more about this program, or any employers interested in providing employment, please reach out to the Project Specialist, Brandon Torres at: or (858) 292-7627 x19. 

Listening and Learning Tours Continued

     The CoC Listening and Learning tour will continue with CoC funded agencies and RTFH members over the next couple of months. Our overall goal is to strengthen the relationships with our providers. We look forward to seeing your program sites and hearing about the great work you and your staff are doing to help those in our region experiencing homelessness.

We're Gearing Up!
     As summer comes to a close and we turn the corner into fall, here at the RTFH we are beginning to ramp up our WeAllCount efforts. Our team has been working closely with HUD to enhance the quality of our count and to ensure that the data we collect is of the highest quality to best inform San Diego's efforts in ending homelessness. Part of this collaboration will entail a shift in our methodology for how we count and extrapolate San Diego's homeless population in addition to scaling up our outreach efforts. What this means is that San Diego will be shifting from its historical practice of doing a visual count to an engagement count. As we continue to work with HUD in revamping our methodology, we will make every effort to keep you informed of these changes and what conducting an engagement count entails. After our meeting with HUD, we will provide a detailed explanation of the changes in our methodology.
Mark your calendars!

The 2019 WeAllCount will take place on January 25th, 2019.
This effort cannot succeed without valuable volunteers like you!
Coordinated Entry System Catch Up
     New CES Manager 
     The RTFH is proud to announce that the Coordinated Entry System team has promoted our former Housing Resource Specialist, Cynthia Garza, to become our new CES Manager. Cynthia has been a critical part of our team for 2 years now, and she brings a strong knowledge of the CES system, having worked as both a Housing Navigator and Matcher in the Coordinated Entry System. Her expertise will be critical in implementing many of the changes we have outlined in our 30 day plan and helping communicate these changes to the community. We are incredibly excited for Cynthia to move into this new role, and look forward to seeing the great work she will do at enhancing our regional Coordinated Entry System. Please be sure to extend a warm congratulations to Cynthia - it's well earned! 

Update on the 30-day Plan
     Last month our team shared with you all some of the work being done with our HUD TA's and the actionable items we drafted as a community. One of the most important discussions that were had during last months three-day workshop was on what each step of the CES process means and how clients move through each step. The steps of the CES workflow that were discuss are: Access, Prevention/Diversion, Assessment, Prioritization, and Referrals. Because of how much discussion was had on each step, there was a clear need for us as a community to come together and fully flesh out each step and what we want it to look like within our Continuum of Care. As a result, we have had ongoing work groups on each individual step throughout the month of September, with these work group meetings concluding the first week of October. 

    Once these work groups conclude, the CES team intends to compile all of the information and recommendations that occurred throughout the multiple month-long work groups. We will present all of this information to the participants of the 3-day CES Intensive Workshop. The date and times of this meeting are TBD. 

     Additionally, the RTFH and CES Leadership have been working with our regional youth homelessness providers, youth advisory board, and HUD TA on mapping out a specific youth CES process. We are working with the recommendations provided to guide us in developing a CES process that better meets the needs of young San Diegans experiencing homelessness. 
Client Spotlight
Sierra's Second Chance
    The RTFH recently housed a transitional-aged youth who is also a parent, Sierra, who was eager to share her story about how having a Housing Navigator played an instrumental role in helping her obtain housing. Housing Navigators throughout the community are a critical piece in providing that extra piece of assistance homeless folks need to obtain housing. Their support and encouragement is pivotal in helping end homelessness for folks throughout the San Diego region. Below is Sierra's story, in her words:

    I want to first and foremost start my story off by saying that I am forever grateful for the my Housing Navigator, JennaMarie, who assisted me throughout my journey into finding housing. She was there for all my trials and tribulations, and without her this would have been impossible. Ever since I first met JennaMarie she tried her absolute best to help me and understand my circumstance. Her desire to help me has always been genuine, and because of her support I am now in a much better place in my life. Because of her I am now able to provide housing for my son, which is such a great feeling. 

      When I was struggling with stability, it affected everything in my life so drastically. Without stability, every little thing took a huge toll on me and I constantly felt limited. It was as if I could only accomplish tiny things that meant very little. Since moving into my own place, it has immediately opened new doors for a better life for both my son and I. Now I am able to focus on raising him instead of worrying about how many days left we have in a shelter or how long I can stay with a relative or friend. 

     Because of JennaMarie and her desire to help people like me living on the street, I now living in my own two bedroom apartment with my son. I can't thank her enough for touching my life with her generosity and compassion. She is an amazing person who I will never forget. Thank you you from the bottom of my heart!

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