Bright Spot: Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County MI | Integrating GPD Programs into HMIS

September 9, 2019

Train GPD staff to input program data in HMIS and the By-Name List; if HMIS does not host the By-Name List, ask the list manager to create a mechanism to regularly report and capture GPD data.

Check out this Bright Spot if…

  • You need to add veterans staying in Grant and Per Diem (GPD) programs to the By-Name List (BNL)
  • You need to create a reporting mechanism for GPD providers to add program data to HMIS and/or the BNL
  • You want to try it!

Summary

In many communities GPD providers are disconnected from the larger community of programs providing services to veterans experiencing homelessness.  In Ann Arbor, GPD providers also provide other services, making it all the more important that they participate in HMIS. The tools available through Built for Zero introduced Ann Arbor to a systematic way to think about coordinating homeless systems in the community.

Using these tools, the CoC lead in Ann Arbor took a leadership role in the initiative to onboard GPD providers to HMIS. Because the CoC Lead already provides some training and technical assistance to these providers, they were best situated to easily onboard programs to HMIS and the BNL.

Leadership from the GPD providers in the community was open to this change, and Ann Arbor’s providers were happy to support a new level of coordination. The two GPD providers began to enter data into HMIS. 

As community providers continued to work with GPD programs, lengths of stay have decreased from 7-8 months on average to less than 6 months.  Participation of the VA and GPD providers in coordination efforts has increased, and GPD providers are now full partners in the process.

Key Action: Bring the LEadership Along

Utilize momentum that exists in other initiatives, such as Built for Zero. These initiatives can provide opportunities for your community to come together and plan, as well as harvest bright spots from other communities working on similar problems. 

Utilize outside consultation resources if you have them available. Outside experts can help identify opportunities for growth, and make connections to resources. Ann Arbor used consultation opportunities available through Built for Zero, as well as expert input from the VA.

Leverage elected officials to whatever extent possible. Ann Arbor has had some success with this. Furthermore, take time to show appreciation for people. In Ann Arbor, clients wrote letters to case managers to show their appreciation.

Fail Forward Moments

  • The community did not have detailed information about inflow. They realized midstream that many people were from outside the county.
  • Reconciling between HUD and VA homeless definitions and program eligibility was difficult. Many individuals in GPD programs did not necessarily qualify as homeless by HUD definitions. Messaging these different definitions was a communication challenge.

Want more information?

Contact Amanda Carlisle (carlislea@ewashtenaw.org) at the Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County Continuum of Care.

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