Within the homeless services sector, there has been an increased national focus on how to best address the challenge of unsheltered homelessness. The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) released new guidelines on addressing encampments.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently released a special NOFO dedicated to both unsheltered homelessness and homeless encampments. The NOFO also centered its focus on communities working collaboratively with health and housing partners to reduce unsheltered homelessness.
To help you take your outreach work to the next level, Bitfocus features a couple of exceptional tools. First, there is the Clarity Human Services Outreach Module embedded within the system. And second, is the Outreach Toolkit.
Today, we’re rolling out the Outreach Toolkit to help you maximize the effectiveness of Outreach. This toolkit will help you thoughtfully set up and make use of Clarity’s Outreach module. These two tools will assist your continuum of care (CoC) in elevating community outreach initiatives, ultimately enabling you to better understand and address unsheltered homelessness in your community.
Read on to learn more about the Outreach Module and Toolkit.
Outreach Tool to Enhance Your Outreach Efforts
As you look to maximize your street outreach teams’ efforts, here are several benefits of Outreach that are most relevant to addressing homelessness in your community.
Create a Central Hub for Location Data
Outreach provides a central location for viewing unsheltered individual and encampment location data.
We’ve learned that most communities are collecting encampment locations outside their homeless management information system (HMIS) and that data collection varies widely among providers. By creating a central, accessible, and shared resource for all members of your CoC, you strengthen collaboration among partners and care providers.
(Having an HMIS that leverages geospatial data collaboration among partners and care providers improves outreach, as well.)
Assess Encampments & Prioritize Service Delivery
Making progress on unsheltered homelessness requires us to move beyond assessing just individual residents.
To achieve this, Clarity Outreach provides new tools to assess encampments for a variety of health, safety, and environmental conditions. Assessment results can also inform service delivery and help communities best assign and manage mitigation or abatement responses.
Assign Encampment Teams & Monitor Progress
Scattered data makes supporting distributed clients much more difficult.
To counteract this, Clarity Outreach enables you to create and assign Encampment Teams to help you more effectively monitor progress within encampment conditions or housing efforts. It allows for the creation of cross-agency teams to facilitate deeper levels of collaboration amongst partners and strengthen your local response.
Enhance Communication Among Providers
Don’t rely on word-of-mouth updates to communicate safety concerns across providers!
Clarity Outreach has built-in tools such as Encampment Alerts and Encampment Notes that can be used to communicate critical needs, safety concerns, requests for services, etc. Alerts and Notes ensure that all providers have access to up-to-date information and historical notes on each encampment.
More efficient communication means time saved and better treatment for the most marginalized in your community.
Increase Performance Insight
Clarity Outreach is equipped with a new Data Analysis model that can help your community better access and analyze outreach data. These insights can also be used to identify gaps in service, improve performance, and gauge unsheltered trends over time.
Outreach Toolkit to Enhance How You Use Outreach
A completely integrated and map-based module of Clarity Human Services, the Outreach Toolkit enhances your ability to acquire and accurately reflect both individual and encampment location data. It enables Bitfocus customers to take their outreach initiatives to the next level.
To successfully implement Clarity’s Outreach Toolkit in your community or organization, here’s what you need to do.
- Establish Planning Infrastructure: Start by creating an implementation committee with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Be sure to also outline your desired impact while building your shared knowledge of the Clarity Outreach Toolkit. Articulate what is unique to your CoC and what you want to accomplish.
- Conduct Current State Analysis: To assess your readiness for Clarity Outreach, examine current outreach workflows and data. Leave no data cluster unturned.
- Plan Use of Clarity Outreach: Evaluate data collection strategies based on location and encampment data, determine which data elements are essential, and outline what data access should look like. This is where you install every contingency for securing your data and make it easily accessible to the right people.
Enlist a Professional Team
Should you be interested in utilizing Clarity Outreach, but remain unsure about having your own system administrators and case managers oversee it, there’s another alternative.
Let Bitfocus do some of the heavy lifting for you. We’re more than happy to assist in at least one of two ways.
You can get started with Clarity Outreach today by requesting a module for your training or live site through your BFF or Community Administration team member.
One of the great things is that Outreach can be added for no additional cost.
If you’re interested in Outreach but overwhelmed by the rollout, you can partner with our Professional Services team to implement Outreach in your community.
Our Professional Services team can help conduct an outreach needs assessment to determine the current level of collaboration and data collection, develop Outreach workflows, assist with system configuration, and provide training or any combination of these items to meet your needs.
We can tailor it to suit your situation, so you can rest assured you have a solution that’s particular to your populations and challenges.
In addition to Clarity Outreach, Bitfocus is the creator of Clarity Human Services, an advanced HMIS that helps connect your community’s most vulnerable populations to the services and resources they need to thrive. Reach out today to learn more about how either tool can improve the care you provide your community.