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.
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.
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.
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
THN is contracting with Green River, to deploy, expand, and maintain the THDSN data warehouse. Since then, six CoCs have agreed to participate in the project’s implementation and contribute data to the THDSN data warehouse.
These CoCs include Texas Balance of State, Houston, Pasadena/Harris, Fort Bend Counties, Fort Worth, Arlington/Tarrant County, Dallas City & County/Irving CoC, Waco McLennan County CoC and Amarillo CoC. Currently, THDSN represents 228 out of 254 Texas counties. We will continue working with our other CoC partners to encourage participation in THDSN.
The six CoCs currently contributing data to the THDSN Data Warehouse represent 90% of the counties in Texas.
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.
Below you will see a scrollable dashboard of data. If you are interested in using this data for a research paper, news story, or another project, we ask that you please first contact Eric Samuels to discuss the data and information you will be extracting.
Please review the context for each section of the above dashboard:
- The number of “homeless households” and “total homeless people” data sets are the total of households (HH) & individuals experiencing homelessness in Texas. HUD requires homeless response systems to categorize the population by household type. A single person or partners without kids are HH Without Kids, single persons or partners with kids are HH With Kids, and persons under 18 alone, even with kids, are HH With Only Kids. Also shown is the total number of people who fell into homelessness during 2021, as well as the percentage of those that were unsheltered (e.g. on the street, in a car, a tent, etc.).
- Total Number of People Experiencing Homelessness data: This number represents the total number of people who fell into homelessness during the time frame shown within the homeless response systems participating in the Texas Homeless Data Sharing Network (THDSN)
- Total Number of People Entering and Exiting Homelessness data: These numbers represent every person who fell into homelessness during the year shown as well as those who exited homelessness. In some cases, a person may have fallen into homelessness two or more times during the year.
- The large Texas map shows the number of people experiencing homelessness by Continuum of Care/ homeless response system, and the percentage of the statewide total population represented in that region.
Where We're Going
The TDHSN will continue to 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.