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State of the Coalition
by Ann Howard, Executive Director


July. Independence and freedom. Celebrations. Texas heat. Housing? I want to thank all the case managers who toil day after day to house their clients—and I pledge to  you that I will work every day to make the process quicker and less cumbersome. I learned last week that one of our men on the 100 Homes Vulnerable List died on June 25th, just 18 days after moving into housing. Upon release from jail last summer, he enrolled into case management at the Downtown Community Court  - wanting to get his life back on track. After he began working with his case manager, this former frequent offender did not receive even one additional ticket. That case manager worked with him for almost a full year before housing was available.  I’m guessing criminal history presented a huge barrier to housing this client...and days and weeks and months went by. We can find comfort in knowing that he had housing in his last weeks, but we cannot be complacent in our efforts to improve the housing process. 
 
I applaud the Housing Authority of the City of Austin and Veteran’s Affairs Supportive Housing program for identifying ways to remove barriers and shorten the process. As they prepare to receive additional VASH vouchers to pay rent for veterans, they have increased outreach efforts, started working on securing required documentation and identification, and replaced the difficult to come by birth certificates with VA generated papers. They have reached out to landlords and property owners to line up apartments. These practical changes can shave weeks and even months off the process.  

Let us resolve to stay strong in our commitment to end homelessness.

ECHO Awarded SOAR TA 

We are pleased to announce that Austin was selected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to receive SOAR technical assistance.  "SOAR training helps communities increase eligible homeless persons' enrollment in SSA disability benefits," said Jessie Aric, ECHO's Program Manager. "I'm excited about this award because it gives our community the tools and preparation needed to provide ongoing training for case managers in Austin." On June 28th, SAMHSA announced the award of 9 grants to Continuums of Care. Grantees were selected from 30 CoC applicants from across the country.  Full Article

HMIS Update
 
Managing Families:  As homeless service providers put more focus on families experiencing homelessness, ServicePoint has introduced new and better tools for dealing with families. With version 5.6, it is now easy to document when household members leave and come back to the family as well as add new family members as clients find partners, gain custody of children, or have new babies.


Those of you who deal with very large families will be glad to know that Version 5.7 fixes a problem with the Household Data Sharing Assessment so that it now correctly dates the information when you create an entry after the entry date, greatly cutting back the data entry necessary for families. 

Ben King, Chair of Data Work Group & Daniel Gore, Chair of the HMIS Committee presented at the NHCH Conference

Epidemiology, Evaluation, and Data Management
 
Topics covered a range of data collection methodologies and use of data gathered from medical records, business operations, formal needs assessments, point-in-time counts, shelter and housing services databases, and CoC reports. Presenters described how information is used to make strategic, operational, and clinical practice decisions. Presentation Slides

 


New Executive Directors
 
Jo Kathryn Quinn, Caritas of Austin and Mitchell Gibbs, Front Steps

On June 20th, Caritas of Austin announced that Jo Kathryn Quinn was hired as the agency's new Executive Director. Quinn has served as the Director of Housing Services for seven years and during her tenure has assisted thousands living in and facing homelessness.  

On June 25th, Front Steps named Mitchell Gibbs its new Executive Director. Mr. Gibbs has been Director of Development and Communications since 2010 and brings some 25 years of nonprofit management experience to the organization. “I am excited to take on this new role for Front Steps,” said Gibbs.  

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