HOPE Team releases mid-year report, Q2 data shows the most shelter referrals and enrollments

HOPE Team releases mid-year report, Q2 data shows the most shelter referrals and enrollments ever recorded by the Human Services Department

August 18, 2021 by Homelessness Response

Yesterday, the HOPE Team submitted its 2021 Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) report to Seattle City Council providing Quarter 1 (Q1) and Quarter 2 (Q2) data outcomes for the Human Services Department’s (HSD) new outreach coordination team. The results show that in Q2 (April – June) of this year, the HOPE Team referred the most individuals to shelter and had the most confirmed enrollments into shelter ever recorded by City efforts. Quarter 2 Outreach Outcomes In Q2, the HOPE Team made 432 referrals to shelter, the most recorded by HSD since tracking of this data began in Q4 2018. This was a 132% increase over Q1 2021 referrals, and were made based on 1,097 shelter recommendations from 17 different provider partners. Of these referrals, 95% were to 24/7 enhanced shelter or tiny houses which provide wraparound onsite services including case management, and housing navigation, to help end a person’s experience with homelessness. The increase in recommendations and referrals reflects the availability of two new temporary hotel-based shelters that opened at the end of Q1 which added almost 200 hotel rooms to the City’s shelter system capacity and represented 49% of the shelter referrals from the HOPE Team in Q2.

HOPE Team 2021 shelter referrals by month and shelter typeUnduplicated enrollments into shelter also reached an all-time recorded high in Q2 with 214 individuals identified as enrolling into shelter at an enrollment rate of 52.1%, also an all-time recorded high. Note, tracking enrollments has been historically difficult as it requires comparing data collected by the HOPE Team and the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) —which are differing data sets. For instance, 24% of all HMIS shelter enrollments did not include a name, making it impossible to match them to any HOPE Team data. These challenges in tracking enrollments through HMIS are one of the data quality and metrics efforts that have been presented to King County Regional Homelessness Authority as an opportunity for re-design in the future. During record breaking heat at the end of June, the HOPE Team activated its emergency heat response outreach on Friday, June 25, and System Navigators were in the field over the weekend through Monday, June 28 performing wellness checks, handing out water and other basic needs supplies, passing out flyers about the available cooling shelters and services, and offering transportation to cooling center locations. This work was done in coordination with Heath One and other City department partners. The HOPE Team facilitated the sharing of information with provider partners on the City’s heat response efforts and available cooling center locations and resources for people living unsheltered. Over the course of the excessive heat event, the HOPE Team made 192 engagements with individuals experiencing homelessness, handed out 619 bottles of water, provided 135 basic needs supplies, passed out 220 cooling shelter/day center information flyers, and referred 30 individuals to City funded shelters and the temporary cooling shelter. Quarter 1 Outreach Outcomes In Q1, during its first months of operation, the HOPE Team made 186 referrals to available shelter spaces based on 433 shelter recommendations from 16 different outreach providers. Of these referrals, 94% were to enhanced shelter or tiny homes, including to the new hotel-based shelters that opened at the end of March, or tiny house villages. There were 79 confirmed enrollments in Q1 at a rate of 45.7%, the second highest enrollment rate recorded ever recorded by HSD. In February, the HOPE Team led emergency outreach efforts during Seattle’s record breaking snow fall. In partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Team made 380 wellness checks, provided 277 people with winter supplies, and transported 42 individuals experiencing homelessness to temporary emergency shelters. Following the closure of the temporary emergency shelters, the HOPE Team, in partnership with HSD’s Homelessness Strategies and Investments (HSI) division and outreach and shelter providers, helped coordinate efforts to refer 83 individuals into shelter and hotel placements. HOPE Team Background Included as part of the 2021 budget, the new eight-person HOPE Team changed HSD’s role to coordinating outreach to those experiencing homelessness in Seattle. Unlike the Navigation Team, HSD no longer leads encampment trash and debris mitigation efforts or encampment removal operations. Encampments in the right of way, parks, and sidewalks are now prioritized by the departments that own or are responsible for the impacted property. The HOPE Team’s focus is two-fold – to coordinate outreach in partnership with contracted providers to support people living unsheltered across the city, including managing the referral process into City-funded “set-aside” shelter resources, and ensure that individuals at encampments prioritized for removal by a property-owning department (i.e., Seattle Parks & Recreation, Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle City Light, etc.) receive an offer of shelter by the HOPE Team or it’s outreach partners with the goal of helping all those residing onsite into safer shelter spaces. Quarterly Data Metrics Referrals and Enrollments data by Quarter going back to the Navigation Team (Q1 2019 – Q3 2020). HOPE Team data is represented in Q1 and Q2 2021 data.

*Referrals to shelter by the HOPE Team in the NavApp can be matched with HMIS data to identify enrollments into shelter within 48 hours but there are numerous caveats which makes tracking this information difficult including, but not limited to:

  • If an individual provided different personally identifying information (such as a name) in either the NavApp or HMIS;

  • Opted to not share their personal information with other parties (which accounts for 24% of all HMIS data);

  • Enrolled at a shelter other than the one they were referred to.