Setting Performance Measures

Published: December 22, 2012

NOTE: This toolkit was published by Building Changes in 2013 to help counties meet a 2014 state mandate that all counties have a coordinated entry system for clients entering the homeless system. It has not been updated since then and does not necessarily reflect current or best practice.


Setting performance measures is accomplished through the construction of evaluation tools and processes that will accurately portray how efficiently and effectively the system is working (outcomes) and identify where adjustments need to be made to improve overall performance. There are two components to the evaluation of a coordinated entry system:

  • Evaluation of the coordinated entry process (intake, assessment, and referral)
  • Evaluation of the services that are connected to the coordinated entry process

Within both of these levels is the experience of the client, providers, and lead-hosting agency(s) engaged with the coordinated entry process and services. The data used to inform an evaluation process should include:

  • HMIS collected data
  • Parallel systems data
  • Responses to surveys and questionnaires from clients, providers, and lead agency that is hosting coordinated entry system

An evaluation of the intake, assessment, and referral data is a collection of reported facts but doesn’t capture the experience of the client, provider, and lead agency. Relying solely on HMIS and parallel-systems collected data will not give a complete picture of the coordinated-entry process and services.

The evaluation process should have the capacity to review the coordinated process itself and the experience of systems’ users. Building Changes suggests a three-tiered approach:

Performance Measurement of Coordinated Entry Process

HMIS and parallel systems data contribute to the most objective evaluation of the coordinated entry process because they measure quantitative data. The data collected by HMIS and associated add-on platforms will focus on client demographic information, client entry and exit dates, number of housing placements made, number of clients eligible for services, and incidence of repeat clients, for example.

Competent analysis of the data should be able to measure whether the system is meeting goals set out by the planning committee and basic HUD/HEARTH expectations.

Data collected for performance measurement should be able to indicate:

  • Length of stay in shelter
  • Incidence of new entries to homelessness
  • Re-entry to the homeless system of previously homeless households
  • Rate of match and mismatched referrals
  • Time from when a client enters the system, is referred, and is placed into permanent housing
  • Rate of inventory vacancies; different rates between providers
  • Time on waitlists
  • Wait time and housing placement time with needs level of household (high, medium, or low needs)
  • Number of interactions the client has with different providers

Performance Measurement of Coordinated Entry Process Using Experiential Data

Survey questions relating to the coordinated entry process will address the implementation of the process. Results will identify accessibility of the system, confirm the soundness of the assessment tools and provider referral network, and expose system gaps/needs. Targeted survey tools can explore these specific Issues and questions:

Survey clients

  • How client came into contact with the system—were they able to understand the process?
  • Was client matched appropriately to a provider? Did they have to be re-matched?
  • Did they refuse housing placement, and if so, why?

Survey providers

  • Appropriateness of client referrals and refusals (how and why?)
  • Usefulness of common assessment forms
  • Experience with shared database (training needs, system needs, etc.)
  • Interaction with lead agency coordinating the system
  • Policies and procedures review (helpfulness, changes, additions, clarity needs?)
  • Translation and interpretation needs

Survey lead agency hosting the coordinated system

  • Feedback on provider network (compliance issues)
  • System accessibility and structure
  • Experience with fiscal agency (support needs)
  • Translation and interpretation needs
  • Policies and procedures review (helpfulness, changes, additions, clarity needs?)

Performance Measurement of Services Using Experiential Data

Survey questions relating to the system’s provision of services will address client support services, housing stability, and collaboration within the provider network. Results will identify client service needs, network partners’ compliance, resource allocations and effectiveness of support services, permanent housing placements, and system management. Targeted surveys can explore these issues and questions:

Survey clients

  • Was agency responsive, respectful of culture, etc.?
  • Did the agency allow client to determine goals?
  • Did client access provider through intake center or another method? Was there a side door to services (this will address compliance issues)?
  • Is client able to meet their housing costs, and is their housing stable?
  • Is client in housing the provider located, and has client moved since being placed?

Survey providers

  • What other resources or collaborations were needed?
  • What kind of trainings would provider like to strengthen their skills?
  • Has provider added or eliminated services that can affect the referral process?
  • What is provider’s experience with partner agencies?
  • Did provider have resources needed to serve client?
  • Is provider on track to participate in other system changes, such as rapid re-housing, prevention services, and links to economic opportunities?

Survey lead-agency

  • Effectiveness of partner agency collaborations—where are more needed, are there performance concerns or compliance issues, etc.?
  • Data-entry accuracy, timeliness, and completeness by partner agencies
  • Experience with lead fiscal agency—did they receive good support and guidance?
  • Is there adequate political will and leadership to implement the next stage of systems change?

See Evaluation Resources for links to examples of questionnaires and evaluation tools.

Next: Evaluation Process Models

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