Tuesday, March 1, 2022
This year our local homeless services system will serve more than 11,000 of our neighbors.
Learn how neighbors have a place to call for help and what we are doing to move people from homeless to home.
More Than Numbers
As we release the 2021 Homeless Services System Data, a note about how the data is collected, and why it matters.
The Cincinnati/Hamilton County Continuum of Care for the Homeless (OH-500) was the first continuum in the country to have all of its homeless services agencies contributing data to the same Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).
Strategies to End Homelessness is the lead agency for and administers our local HMIS system. This HMIS is known as Clarity. As a result, we have immediate access to data to track progress on ending homelessness, as well as program outcomes. All of our partner agencies’ data is stored within the system.
HMIS data is a powerful tool in identifying the most effective strategies to end homelessness. It’s used to monitor program outcomes, coordinate resources and funding for front-line homeless services agencies, connect people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness with the right services, guide system changes, and track the impact of those changes over time.
The work of our Data Analysts, carried out in partnership with data analytics company 84.51, has taught us a great deal about homelessness in the community. We have used the analysis to guide system changes and track impact.
And with each advance we realize that there are more sophisticated ways to use the data, better methods and other data sets to access. Therefore, we know we have a lot more to learn, and we are very focused on enhancing our ability to do this work.
Getting people experiencing unsheltered homelessness into shelter or housing is a priority. This type of homelessness is the most life-threatening. People are vulnerable to bullying or assaults. Additionally, they are exposed to the relentless winter weather.
CAP Calls Keep Increasing
The Central Access Point (CAP) Helpline is the centralized emergency shelter intake line in Hamilton County. We operate the CAP Helpline 363 days a year. Anyone experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness can call.
Callers get information about services and find space in a shelter or a homelessness prevention program. And the need is high. In 2021 the CAP Helpline experienced a 60% increase in the number of calls compared to the prior year.
Calls from neighbors facing or already experiencing homelessness. Your support made it possible for us to add capacity, so that we could answer more than 28,000 calls in 2021. Helping callers find their way to home. And for that, thank you!
A Case for Prevention
The best chance at preventing homelessness is through Shelter Diversion. The program targets those who have already lost their own home, are doubled up, and whose next option is a homeless shelter.
Shelter Diversion prevents families from experiencing the trauma of homelessness. Additionally, it is also cost effective. The average cost per person in the local homeless service system is $3,700. But, by preventing a person from becoming homeless, the cost is only $1,577.
Supported by our generous donors, the emphasis on expanding Shelter Diversion services is showing good results. In 2019, we were able to offer Shelter Diversion services to 914 people, and increased that number to 1,059 in 2020 and 1,181 in 2021. That’s a 29% increase in people served in Shelter Diversion in only two years.
More importantly, those are people, mainly families with children, who didn’t experience the trauma of being on the street or in a shelter.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awards Cincinnati/Hamilton County millions of dollars annually. But, very little of those funds can be used for prevention. To have the best homeless services system, prevention services must be a part of the system. Even if not funded by the federal government.
Street Reach App
Download Street Reach and help neighbors in need!
Street Reach is an app for Android or iPhone that allows you to quickly and easily send a report of someone experiencing homelessness to the CAP Helpline. You can help a neighbor find home, from your phone.