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Megan Schoonveld, Adam Hammond, Vanessa Li, Emily Mosites, Kristie E.N. Clarke
Community-based organizations (CBOs) provide critical services to people experiencing homelessness and played a unique role in data collection throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Although data from CBOs filled a critical need, many jurisdictions faced challenges with timely and integrated data collection. We gathered expert opinions from CBO leaders on homelessness and health to identify how to support CBO data collection to best inform public health practices.
We conducted 20 key informant interviews representing 16 CBOs. Three thematic areas emerged from the transcripts: challenges in data entry and collection, infrastructure limitations, and challenges to data sharing and partnerships. The 20 TEP members suggested that creating an interagency health and housing a data modernization support center could increase federal coordination, that system interoperability could be improved by creating standards for defining data elements and that more tools are needed to support CBOs to implement best practices.
Through increased collaboration at all levels and coordinated action, improved data to better support the health of people experiencing homelessness is an achievable goal.