THOUGHTS AND PERSPECTIVES ON PSH FROM THE GROUND

Robert Mitchell | @robertmitchellv
2018-09-04

bash-3.2$ whoami

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  • I work at Skid Row Housing Trust as a data analyst
  • (I'll just refer to it as SRHT from now on)
  • I have been working in this role for around three years
  • I am self taught as a programmer/analyst
  • Background in philosophy, comp lit, french, information science

A BIT ABOUT SRHT

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  • We do three things:
    1. Develop affordable housing; specifically permanent supportive housing
    2. Provide supportive services to the residents of our affordable housing projects
    3. Have an affiliate manage the properties, repairs, et cetera

A BIT ABOUT SRHT

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  • We believe in the Housing First model
  • We believe in Harm Reduction
  • This is pretty much industry standard for the most part

WHAT I WANT TO COVER

  • Research ➡️ policy threshold ➡️ providerspace feedback loop
  • Building in measurement when there was none
    • And the data infrastructure associated with this effort
  • Current work and the direction SRHT is going in connection to data

WHY TALK ABOUT THIS FEEDBACK LOOP?

  • It reflects a frustration that many providers feel
  • It may not be something that is necessarily shared often and connects to the kind of policy advocacy SRHT would like to be a part of in the future

DEMONSTRATION STUDIES

  • Pathways to Housing: Supported Housing for Street-Dwelling Homeless Individuals With Psychiatric Disabilities (Tsemberis, 2000)
    • Most HF people are familiar with this study, it's widely used to justify HF, which the providerspace is behind
    • These survival figures help us advocate for HF

pathways-survival

DEMONSTRATION STUDIES

  • But then we see this retention figure
    • On the one hand, this shows HF efficacy
    • On the other hand, will this be the bar providers are held to?

pathways-retention

SHAPING PUBLIC OPINION


SHAPING PUBLIC OPINION


APPLES TO APPLES?

  • Is New York like Los Angeles?
  • Is Utah like Los Angeles?
  • How does this shape public opinion?

IS THIS A GOOD MEASURE?

  • 🙅‍♀️
  • I don't think this is a good measure since it says nothing of provider effort or quality
    • It's effectively housing churn until there is a uniform retention calculation that controls for success and can also control for effort on the side of the provider

WHAT DATA DID I INHERIT?

  • Lots of tables of things; nothing that is connected by keys or can be aggregated meaningfully
  • Data that is lost on paper somewhere or in excel in a lonely, forgotten directory
  • 💡 are there mandatory reports required through some compliance function?
    • Is this even useful? What does it communicate?
    • Yeah you HUD mandated Annual Progress Report (APR) 👀
  • Is there research literature? What is cited in those studies?
    • Are there comparisons to draw? Can you chase the citations?

BUILDING MEASUREMENT

  • There were no measurements–nothing that I could use to demonstrate change in housing over time in a way that could be abstracted to an aggregate level meaningfully
  • I didn't have the right kind of data to demonstrate good outcomes