WISP News 12.22.16

In this Issue

  • Holiday Hours
  • A Letter from the Director
  • Judy Wilcox News
  • Register for New User Trainings

Holiday Hours

In observance of the upcoming holidays, our Wisconsin offices will be closed a few days:

  • Friday, December 23rd – Christmas
  • Monday, December 26th – Christmas
  • Friday, December 30th – New Year’s Day
  • Monday, January 2nd – New Year’s Day

 We hope everyone has a great, warm and safe holiday season.

A Letter from the Director

As 2016 draws to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication each of your organizations has demonstrated during the course of the year to our HMIS and data endeavors.  As I have said many times over the years, we believe that Wisconsin has the best statewide HMIS in America, and it is due in large part to you and your peers throughout the state.

This field has experienced near constant change since early 2009, when we were introduced to the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, or HPRP for short.  For those of you that are new to homeless services in the past couple years, you may have coworkers or peers that reference that stimulus program, likely with not-so-fond memories.  But it provided us with a glimpse into the world in which we now operate, with a heavy emphasis on reporting and making data-driven decisions.  With HMIS as its core, HPRP was a test of our ability to develop and manage a complex data entry and reporting in an environment where the rules were being created as we go, and where they did exist were under constant clarification and revision. 

In the past couple years, Wisconsin continua have made a lot of progress using best practices and being informed by data.  In just 2016 alone:

  • The four continua were awarded a combined $23.5 million in the most recent HUD CoC competition.  This money is funding more permanent housing for the homeless at any time in the state’s history. 
  • The four continua experienced a 22% drop from 2015 in the number of chronically homeless persons on the streets or in emergency shelters.
  • The four continua also experienced a 22% drop from 2015 in the number of homeless veterans.
  • In the first three quarters of 2016, Milwaukee and Madison shelters experienced a 3.9% decrease in emergency shelter usage.  In that same time period, the Balance of State CoC experienced a 5.8% decrease in emergency shelter usage. 
  • Each of the state’s continua have officially implemented their coordinated entry system, with communities using HMIS data to prioritize clients for their optimal housing intervention.
  • All four continua were able to successfully submit their first-ever system performance measures data to HUD and have been to evaluate the results of that data to further inform systems change and enhance successful practices.

Also this year, agencies and their staff were able to seamlessly transition to the new definition of chronic homelessness, new HMIS data standards, and a host of other changes brought forth by federal and local funders.  These changes went smoothly, as did the implementation of coordinated entry using HMIS, because of the commitment across the state to a high quality HMIS.

As we bring many of the challenges of 2016 with us into the New Year and combine them with new challenges and uncertainty, you can be assured that the team at ICA will be here.  Many of us have worked as homeless service providers, having sat where you sat, working with persons experiencing homelessness in our communities, and we know the challenges the work presents on a daily basis.  We are dedicated to being leaders in this field and we will continue to demonstrate it in 2017 and beyond.

Adam Smith, HMIS Director

Judy Wilcox News

Over the years many of us have had the opportunity work with Judy Wilcox.  It is with sadness that we share the news that Judy has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and will not be with us much longer.  Judy was a titan in the world of homelessness, not just in Wisconsin, but nationally.  Many of the programs in operation today can trace their origins to the hard work and dedication of Judy.   This includes the funding programs currently operated at the Wisconsin Department of Administration.  Judy is also responsible for the existence of the Balance of State Continuum of Care and the creation of our statewide HMIS implementation, which was the first shared governance system in the country.  This is but a small sampling of the impact that she has had on our field of work, and to her we all a debt of gratitude.  Judy stayed active after retirement, serving on many boards and committees dedicated to addressing the root causes of poverty and homelessness in our community. 

If you have not already done so, you are encouraged to send along well wishes to Judy via email or letter:

Judith M. Wilcox
202 North Blount Street #22
Madison, WI 53703

January Trainings

We have a few upcoming trainings in January.  Training for ETH funded projects on the new reporting requirements and the Point In Time workflow and reporting requirements.  For more information on these trainings and additional upcoming trainings, please visit our training calendar:  http://www.icalliances.org/wisconsin-training-calendar.

340:  ETH CAPER training with DEHCR
This training will review how to run the CAPER and will include staff from DEHCR providing information on how to fill out the ETH Report for using the CAPER as required for ETH funded projects.
Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3196463200352928770

506:  Point In Time HMIS Data Entry and Reporting
This training will cover the required HMIS Data Entry and Reporting for the January 2017 Point-In-Time Count.
Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1618898210469899524