Rockville, Md. – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today released a new strategy and analysis tool, called “Stella,” that enables communities across the U.S. to understand how their homeless response system is performing and see what they can do to optimize results.
Approximately 400 local planning bodies, known as Continuums of Care (CoCs), are leading the effort to help communities prevent and end homelessness. They work with limited resources to assist people with sometimes life-threatening needs. Stella analyzes data uploaded by CoCs and uses its visualization capabilities to help them literally see where they should improve their systems’ performances so they can maximize their impact in the fight to end homelessness.
“Stella is an important extension of Abt’s long working relationship with HUD and CoCs to address homelessness at the national and community levels,” said Abt’s Joyce MacAlpine, who led the collaboration between Abt, HUD and other firms to develop the data visualization and analysis tool. Stella is informed by Abt’s decades of support on HUD’s Annual Homelessness Assessment Report, which uses data collected by CoCs to identify trends in homelessness over time.
“Every decision we make is guided by our goal of preventing and ending homelessness across the country,” said Norm Suchar, director of the Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs at HUD, which oversees Continuum of Care Program funding and policy. “We expect that CoCs are doing that, too – using data to understand which efforts are effective and which areas need improvement. We created Stella so they can focus on the changes they need to make rather than expend valuable resources on building dashboards.”
Before Stella, local CoCs may not have been able to successfully analyze their system data and prepare it for strategic use. Even if they could, they had to shoulder the cost and effort on their own. The accessibility and ease of use is considered a “game changer” in understanding what works best to end homelessness, according to CoC officials.
“Stella is amazing!” said Kathleen Shanahan, Montgomery County (Ohio) Housing and Homeless Solutions program coordinator. “[This] puts performance analysis at a CoC’s fingertips … and helps to level the playing field by taking reports and making them usable for CoCs, regardless of their level of sophistication with data analysis tools or the size of their HMIS staff team. Stella will help CoCs shift even more to making data-informed decisions about their systems.”
Learn more about Stella.
About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is an engine for social impact, dedicated to moving people from vulnerability to security. Harnessing the power of data and our experts’ insights, we provide research, consulting and technical services globally in the areas of health, environmental and social policy, technology and international development. http://www.abtassociates.com