The Texas Balance of State Continuum of Care (TX BoS CoC) is committed to collecting and using data to drive program priorities and policy direction. We rely on the communities throughout our geographic area to help collect high-quality data on homelessness by using the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), completing Housing Inventory Counts and conducting Point-in-Time counts. The data collected through these methods help to produce reports, which can be used for planning locally, on a CoC-level, and nationally.
With HUD’s introduction of System Performance Measures in 2016, the TX BoS CoC is now not only evaluating performance on a project-by-project level, but also on a CoC-wide level. This means that projects must work together and rely on one another even more closely than before to ensure overall performance is high.
Unlike smaller CoCs that can help more directly with data collection, the TX BoS CoC depends on communities to volunteer to participate in the Housing Inventory and Point-in-Time counts in order to obtain data. We can only offer data each year for communities that choose to participate.
PIT counts are a critical source of data on the number and characteristics of people who are homeless in the United States. These data are used to measure homelessness on a local and national level and are published annually on the HUD Exchange. HUD defines a Point-in-Time Count as: “a count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons carried out on one night in the last 10 calendar days of January.
The Housing Inventory Count is a point-in-time inventory of projects within a Continuum of Care that provide beds and units dedicated to serving persons who are homeless. The project types that participate in the Housing Inventory Count are Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, Rapid Rehousing, and Permanent Supportive Housing.
HUD has established a set of selection criteria to use in awarding CoC funding that requires CoCs to report to HUD their system-level performance. The intent of these selection criteria is to encourage CoCs, in coordination with ESG Program recipients and all other homeless assistance stakeholders in the community, to regularly measure their progress in meeting the needs of people experiencing homelessness in their community and to report this progress to HUD.
CoCs also play an integral role in Consolidated Plan (Con Plan) jurisdictions’ planning process. They are required to provide the jurisdiction with the information necessary to complete the Con Plan(s) for homeless assistance provided to persons within the CoC’s geographic area that fall within the Con Plan jurisdiction’s geographic area, including data on performance measures. HUD and the TX BoS CoC will use the system-level performance information as a competitive element in its annual CoC Program Competition and gauge the state of the homeless response system nationally.
In 2016 CoCs were required to submit System Performance Measures to HUD for the first time. The 2015 data that was submitted will serve as a “baseline” against which all future System Performance Measure Reports will be measured.