Using Data in Homelessness Work

Data and measurement is useful in ending homelessness only insofar as it is put to work. Communities ought to use data to determine the scope of the issue, set strategies toward ending it, and measure progress toward stated goals. Shared data can help cities understand real progress toward ending homelessness, see what is working, and improve strategies or problem-solve together. Locally, this may mean centrally accessible databases which rely on a common assessment tool to create a by-name list of individuals experiencing homelessness; at the national level, high-level aggregate counts help to inform legislation. 

The act of data gathering can itself be a tool to bring stakeholders to the table, as large scale counts typically require cooperation across the private and public sectors, as well as the inclusion of individuals with lived experience.