Texas Homeless Data Sharing Network

The Texas Homeless Data Sharing Network is the largest statewide homelessness data integration effort in the United States and will improve the livelihoods of thousands of people experiencing homelessness throughout the state.

Please scroll down to learn more about this effort to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring in Texas.

Hurricane Harvey: Where It All Started

In 2017, Hurricane Harvey demonstrated the need for more efficient communication and collaboration between Texas’ homelessness Continuums of Care (CoCs). As people experiencing homelessness were being displaced and moving to inland regions of Texas, there were no effective processes or tools in place to share their information or identify housing shelter and service opportunities for them from region to region. This was especially problematic for those actively involved in treatment, training, or other case management interventions to maintain or improve health, employment, or other beneficial outcomes.

Person with a large item thrown over their shoulder dragging a closed blue cooler in their left hand walking the opposite direction of the camera with water up to his knees. You can see a rescue vehicle in the distance above water level.

Who's Involved?

Following Hurricane Harvey, Texas Homeless Network (THN) and our CoC partners throughout Texas began discussing the need for a homeless data-sharing network to assist in situations like the aftermath of a disaster. In October of 2019, these partners formed a governing body and began the formal planning of this integration effort.

These systems (shown, right) represent 231 of Texas’ 254 counties in the fight to end homelessness.

Texas CoC map that shows all eleven continuums of care that cover texas' geography

What the THDSN Is Designed To Do

Until now, there was no way for Continuums of Care (CoCs) to share data across their geographic boundaries easily. The Texas Homeless Data Sharing Network (THDSN) is designed to connect the databases from each of Texas’ eleven CoCs into one information-sharing network. The network will give service providers, faith communities, local governments, and anyone working to prevent and end homelessness the ability to access housing and resources across the geographical borders of homeless response systems. The THDSN will also allow Texas’ statewide homelessness data to be analyzed in real-time for the first time which has significant advantages in terms of research and strategic planning that may impact policy change at the state level.

Continuums of Care (CoCs) are part of a program operated by the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) that establishes community-based planning networks for homelessness assistance based on geographic location. CoCs are made up of service providers, such as emergency shelters and housing providers, as well as advocates, government officials, housing authorities, and other agencies that collaborate to work towards ending homelessness.

 

Where We Are Now

In 2020, THN contracted with software vendor, Green River, to build and deploy the THDSN data warehouse and hired a Project Manager to lead the project forward. Since then, three CoCs have agreed to participate in the project’s implementation and contribute data to the THDSN warehouse. 

These CoCs include the Texas Balance of State CoC, Houston, Pasadena/Harris, Fort Bend Counties CoC and Fort Worth, Arlington/Tarrant County CoC . We expect to receive commitments from at least two additional CoCs by June of 2021 and we will continue working with our other CoC partners to encourage participation in the project’s implementation stage.

The total coverage of the Data Sharing Network
Dark Blue = Counties Currently Contributing Data to the THDSN
The three CoCs currently contributing data to the THDSN Data Warehouse represent 86% of the counties in Texas.

Where We're Going

Once established, the THDSN will move towards expanded data-sharing collaborations with public health systems that serve the homeless such as healthcare and criminal justice institutions. This will help identify frequent users of these systems who are homeless so they can be targeted for service interventions. It will also allow us to address system obstructions and vulnerabilities among sub-populations in a more proactive manner, especially when dealing with health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. These collaborations will improve outcomes for those experiencing homelessness and ultimately save taxpayers and community services money by responding to frequent users and reducing their reliance on public health systems.
Doctor standing at the bedside of a patient. Both people are smiling.

The Impact

The Texas Homeless Data Sharing Network is the largest statewide Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) data integration effort in the United States.

The THDSN will improve the livelihoods of thousands of individuals and families experiencing homelessness and save tax-payers and community services money throughout the state of Texas. As state and nation-wide homelessness numbers continue to rise, and with the staggering estimated increase due to the current pandemic-era economy, we believe that now is the time to address and resolve this issue that negatively impacts not only those experiencing homelessness but all Texans.
A family standing on a staircase. In the forefront on the picture is a young kid holding a box on the highest stair smiling. Two adults on stairs below them holding boxes,

Get Involved!

Whether you’re someone who works in homeless services, someone who has experienced homelessness in the past or even a general community member, the actions you take make a loud statement that people experiencing homelessness everywhere matter. Here’s your chance to make a difference.

To make a financial contribution to the THDSN, please click the link below. Your donation, large or small, will help improve the lives of countless individuals and families experiencing homelessness throughout the state of Texas.
To join the THDSN Board as a non-voting member or member with lived homelessness experience, please click the link below and provide your name and contact information. We’ll reach out to you with more information.
For media inquiries and to learn more about the THDSN project, please click the link below and provide your name, organization/publication and contact information. We’ll reach out to you with more information.
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