FOCUS ON MEASURE 1: LENGTH OF TIME HOMELESS
Length of Time Homeless consists of two metrics:
- 1a: Change in the average or median length of time a person remains homeless in Emergency Shelter or Safe Haven; Change in the average or median length of time a person remains homeless in Emergency Shelter, Safe Haven, or Transitional Housing
- 1b: Change in the average or median length of time from a person’s self-reported approximate start date of homelessness to housing move-in
Metric 1a tells us how effective our system is in ending homelessness once a person has become homeless and entered an emergency shelter, safe haven, or transitional housing. It includes all people enrolled in an emergency shelter, safe haven, and transitional housing during the federal fiscal year.
Metric 1b tells us in general, how long people are experiencing homelessness. One of the required HMIS data elements from HUD is the “Approximate Start Date of Homeless”. For this field, people are asked to self-report when their homelessness started. The measure calculates the length of time homeless from self-reported start date of homelessness to housing move-in date or when a person moves into a permanent housing destination. Persons enrolled in Emergency Shelter, Safe Haven, Transitional Housing, or Permanent Housing (literally homeless at entry) during the federal fiscal year are included in this metric.
The desired outcome for both of these metrics is a reduction in the average and median number of days a person experiences homelessness or that the average and median number of days are close in value. Low average and median number of days suggests that the system is able to support households who do become homeless in rapidly exiting the system to stable housing thus ensuring homeless episodes are brief. Average and median numbers that are close in value suggest that there are not disparities in the number of days households experience homelessness. That is, there are not some households who are experiencing long episodes of homelessness (which would raise the average) but rather the experience is brief and consistent across populations.