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«Contents Acknowledgements Calculating Unmet Need Introduction How Do You Calculate Unmet Need? What Data Are Needed to Calculate Unmet Need? ...»

Contents

Acknowledgements

Calculating Unmet Need

Introduction

How Do You Calculate Unmet Need?

What Data Are Needed to Calculate Unmet Need?

Modifying Your Estimate of Unmet Need

Requirements for Reporting Unmet Need in the CoC Application

Questions and Feedback

Calculating Unmet Need for Homeless Individuals and Families

Acknowledgements

This guidance was prepared by Abt Associates Inc. for the U.S. Department of Housing and

Urban Development’s Office of Community Planning and Development McKinney-Vento Technical Assistance Cooperative Agreements. The primary authors of the guidance are Erin Wilson, Larry Buron, and Lauren Dunton of Abt Associates. Mary Joel Holin and Tom Albanese served as the Technical Reviewers.

The authors are grateful to the Continuum of Care representatives who took the time to speak with us about calculating unmet need. These conversations helped us understand the wide variety of information that should be considered and incorporated in an estimate of need for homeless assistance programs.

Calculating Unmet Need for Homeless Individuals and Families Calculating Unmet Need Introduction This guidance will assist your community in preparing the McKinney-Vento application and undertaking long-term program planning. HUD has developed this guidance to assist Continuums of Care (CoCs) in completing the unmet need calculation. This guidance is intended to be used as an optional tool for communities who wish to reevaluate or refine the procedures they use to determine and report their unmet need. However, no change in practice is required; that is, communities may choose to continue using their own procedures to determine and report on unmet need. The guidance introduces standardized formulas and procedures for calculating unmet need and identifies the data needed for the calculations. A document called “Worksheets for Calculating Unmet Need” is also available to assist with these calculations. This guidance was updated in November 2011 to reflect recent changes to the annual McKinney-Vento application process and data reporting requirements using the Homelessness Data Exchange (HDX).

How Do You Calculate Unmet Need?

HUD’s standardized methodology for calculating unmet need uses point-in-time data and local provider expertise to calculate an initial estimate of unmet need. HUD has found that estimates from the standardized methodology may not reflect all that is known about the homeless population in your community. Therefore, HUD recommends that key community stakeholders discuss the initial estimates to determine whether adjustments are necessary to reflect other local information. HUD wants to ensure that CoCs have been thoughtful about assessing unmet need and in making plans to meet this need.

Exhibit 1 of this document displays the formulas for calculating unmet need by program type (emergency shelter, transitional housing, Safe Havens, and permanent supportive housing) for persons in households without children. Exhibit 2 of this document displays the formulas for calculating unmet need for households with at least one adult and one child, and households with only children.

When calculating unmet need CoCs should remember that:

 Each person or household should be placed in the single program type that will best assist the household in resolving homelessness. For example, if there are 200 unsheltered homeless persons in the community, the number of unsheltered homeless persons in need of emergency shelter + the number in need of transitional housing + the number in need of permanent supportive housing should equal 200.

 The calculation of unmet need for each program type (emergency shelter, transitional housing, Safe Havens, or permanent supportive housing) should be done separately for persons in households with at least one adult and one child, persons in households Calculating Unmet Need for Homeless Individuals and Families 1 without children, and persons in households with only children. This is necessary to accurately reflect the bed capacity needs for each group.

 Safe Havens serve only individuals, and thus, unmet need for safe havens is only calculated for households without children. For this reason, the formula in Exhibit 1 includes unmet need for Safe Havens, but the formula in Exhibit 2 does not.

 The total number of available beds includes beds categorized as New and Current in the Housing Inventory Count (HIC).

 Beds are considered “under development” if they are fully funded, but not yet serving homeless persons.

–  –  –

Unmet need for Emergency Shelter (ES) = (The number of unsheltered homeless persons who need ES + the number of persons currently in ES who will only need ES) – (Total number of ES beds + ES beds under development) Unmet need for Transitional Housing (TH) = (The number of unsheltered homeless persons who need TH + the number of persons in ES who need TH + the number of persons in TH who will only need TH) – (Total number of TH beds + TH beds under development) Unmet need for Safe Havens (SH) = (The number of unsheltered homeless persons who need SH + the number of persons in ES that need SH + the number of persons in TH who need SH + the number of persons in SH who will only need SH) – (Total number of SH beds + SH beds under development) Unmet need for Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) = (The number of unsheltered homeless persons who need PSH + the number of persons in ES who need PSH + the number of persons in TH who need PSH + the number of persons in SH who need PSH) – (Total number of vacant PSH beds + PSH beds under development)

–  –  –





Unmet need for Emergency Shelter (ES) = (The number of unsheltered homeless persons who need ES + the number of persons currently in ES who will only need ES) – (Total number of ES beds + ES beds under development) Unmet need for Transitional Housing (TH) = (The number of unsheltered homeless persons who need TH + the number of persons in ES who need TH + the number of persons in TH who will only need TH) – (Total number of TH beds + TH beds under development) Unmet need for Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) = (The number of unsheltered homeless persons who need PSH + the number of persons in ES who need PSH + the number of persons in TH who need PSH) – (Total number of vacant PSH beds + PSH beds under development) What Data Are Needed to Calculate Unmet Need?

As shown in Exhibit 3 of this document, most information for the unmet need calculation is already collected as part of the current application process. The number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons originates from your community’s point-in-time survey and count, and is reported in aggregate in the Homeless Population and Subpopulations charts in the Point-in-Time (PIT) count section of the Homelessness Data Exchange (HDX). The number of existing emergency shelter, transitional housing, Safe Haven, and permanent supportive housing beds, as well as those under development, originates from your provider survey or other data collection approach used to document your community’s HIC. Bed inventory is reported in the HIC section of the HDX.

To determine unmet need for PSH, you will need to know the number of vacant permanent supportive housing beds during the PIT count. If you did not collect this information during your HIC survey or PIT count, estimate the number of vacant beds by using an average vacancy rate for PSH in your community.

You will also need the expert opinions of homeless assistance providers to determine:

Calculating Unmet Need for Homeless Individuals and Families 3 1) The housing needs of homeless persons who are residing in emergency shelter and in transitional housing, and 2) The housing needs of homeless persons who are unsheltered.

To obtain this information, you can ask each provider listed in the HIC to estimate the percentage of their clients that need emergency shelter, transitional housing, Safe Haven, and permanent supportive housing to ultimately resolve their homeless situation. These estimates should be collected during the PIT count or through separate discussion with providers.

–  –  –

Calculating Unmet Need for Homeless Individuals and Families 5 Collecting Information about Housing Needs for Homeless Persons Residing in Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, or a Safe Haven In gathering information about unmet need, it may be useful to ask providers of emergency shelter, transitional housing, and Safe Haven to identify the specific housing needs of their

clients, for example:

At this point in time, what proportion (percent) of your clients would benefit from specific type of programs in order to end their homelessness and stay housed? 1

–  –  –

The percentages obtained from each provider should be applied to the provider’s PIT count to calculate how many persons, in each population group, need which program type to end their homelessness. The resulting numbers should be totaled by program type (emergency shelter, transitional housing, Safe Havens, and permanent supportive housing) for specific populations and then for the entire CoC.

Exhibit 4 of this document provides an example of the calculation used to determine need in transitional housing. The same calculation can be done for emergency shelter, Safe Havens, and permanent supportive housing by substituting “need an emergency shelter bed,” “need a Safe Haven bed,” or “need a permanent housing bed” wherever “need a transitional housing bed” is mentioned in the formula.

Collecting Information about Housing Needs for Unsheltered Homeless Persons

You can obtain the housing needs of unsheltered homeless persons in one of two ways:

 Survey outreach program staff or teams individually, average the estimated percentages, and apply the average to the total unsheltered population; or  Convene a group of outreach program staff to discuss and arrive at a consensus on the percentage of unsheltered persons in need of each type of housing.

1 If a program serves more than one population type, this question needs to be asked separately for each group.

For example, if a program serves both persons in households without children and persons in households with at least one adult and one child, then this question needs to be asked separately for each group.

Calculating Unmet Need for Homeless Individuals and Families 6 If no outreach programs are operating in your community that can provide information on the program needs of unsheltered homeless persons, you should split the unsheltered homeless population between transitional (50 percent) and permanent supportive housing (50 percent).

The even split between transitional and permanent housing is arbitrary, but research suggests that most of the unsheltered homeless population are long-term homeless persons who often have significant service needs.2

–  –  –

Unmet need for transitional housing = Transitional housing bed needs estimate minus the number of transitional beds currently available and under development.

Modifying Your Estimate of Unmet Need No single standardized methodology can take into account other information on local homeless needs that your community may collect. Given the importance of understanding unmet need for planning purposes and the potential benefit of incorporating additional local One implication of assuming that the unsheltered homeless population needs either transitional housing or permanent supportive housing is that unmet need for ES will result in zero or a negative number when using the standardized formula. For example: If the ES beds are not filled to capacity or some of the persons in ES need TH or PSH, then the unmet need for ES will be negative. If all persons in ES are identified as needing ES and the ES beds are filled to capacity, this would suggest that your community has zero unmet need for ES.

If you do not have outreach workers in your community and splitting the unsheltered homeless needs evenly into TH and PSH does not reflect their needs, then make the appropriate adjustments and include an explanation in the narrative portion of the application.

Calculating Unmet Need for Homeless Individuals and Families 7 information, HUD recommends that your community bring together providers and other knowledgeable persons to discuss the initial unmet need calculations. Your CoC can then adjust unmet need numbers to represent your more complete understanding of unmet need in your community. If you use HUD’s standardized formula to calculate unmet need, you should report the initial unmet need numbers in the HIC section of the HDX. You can use the adjusted numbers for local planning purposes and report the adjustment in narrative sections of the Housing Inventory Data Sources and Methods sections in your annual CoC application. In the narrative, you should also explain in detail how you arrived at the modified estimate.

Requirements for Reporting Unmet Need in the CoC Application

CoCs can use the standardized unmet need formula to calculate their initial unmet need which is reported in the HDX by the number of beds and units (if applicable) for each household and program type. If your CoC adjusts the initial unmet need result based on the availability of other local data, explain these adjustments in your CoC application in Section 1g. Continuum of Care (CoC) Housing Inventory – Data Sources and Methods in e-snaps.

Questions and Feedback

If you have any questions about calculating unmet need using the standardized formula, please submit your question via the Virtual Help Desk on HUD’s Homelessness Resource

Exchange (www.hudhre.info). To submit a question:

1. Select HDX for the Program/System under “Your Details;”

2. Under “Question Details,” select PIT as the topic and PIT for the subtopic.



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