I love the work we do at OrgCode. Chances are many of you know me, have seen me speak, or subscribe to this blog because someone else said you should read it. For that, I am grateful.
For many readers I wonder if you know all the things that we do at OrgCode because you may not know the range of talents on our team, or you may have encountered us in only one setting. So, allow me to dedicate this blog to outlining the various things we do:
Housing Forecast Modelling
We have developed a proprietary model that allows us to use various data inputs to predict the amount of affordable housing needed in a municipality or region based upon income strata. It looks at the next 10 years and presents three different scenarios – what is required to maintain the status quo; what is necessary to make modest improvements; and, what has to happen to adequately address a range of housing needs.
Many people know of the Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (SPDAT) which is a common assessment tool that is grounded in evidence that your community can use to help each individual/family get to the level of support and housing to address their needs. We have webinar and in-person training options to help communities get going. If you want to watch videos about it, go here.
Homelessness and Housing Plans
We love the opportunity to work with communities to create or refine homelessness and housing plans spanning 5 to 10 years in length. We use data to drive the plans and anchor expectations in evidence and proven best practices. We harness local talents to move forward. We customize each plan to local context.
Most of the staff on OrgCode have Graduate Degrees in Planning, and yours truly teaches a Graduate Course on Community Planning and Housing. (Want to guess where we find really talented people to work at OrgCode?) We relish the opportunity to work with neighbourhoods, cities, regions and even larger provinces on Community Planning efforts to address social and built form issues in rural and urban environments.
One of my favourite pieces of training to deliver is on leadership in ending homelessness. But we do other leadership work as well with funders, Boards of Directors, emerging leaders, Team Leaders, and leadership in the non-profit sector. We also do one-on-one coaching when requested with leaders to help them behind the scenes to effectively embrace their full leadership potential.
Achieving a coordinated approach to accessing services in a community is a very detailed task that has many steps. We work through the various steps to create an approach that will work specifically for the community to meet its needs and highlight the awesomeness of service providers.
Nerds are sexy. Research gives nerds materials to work with; and therefore, we believe research is nerd food. We do quite a bit of research – from scouring peer-reviewed journals and synthesizing the main currents of thought and practice, to undertaking new research, especially community-based research. Examples of this include our work with people that do sex work, persons living outdoors in the Virginia Beach area, and persons not accessing services in Edmonton.
Excellence in Housing-Based Case Management
Offered as a two or one day training course, after SPDAT this is our most sought after training. We teach the fundamentals of case management in a housing setting to maximize opportunities for helping people stay housed while concurrently working on other life issues.
Data Mining and Analysis
We love numbers and have yet to encounter a data set that is too daunting to tackle. From HMIS information to government service use data, we dig beyond the descriptive statistics to create deeper meaning from the numbers and help inform services, funding and policy. And we present our findings in plain language that is easily understood by people that aren’t data geeks.
Performance Management Frameworks
Related in part to data mining, we help communities understand what performance management is, how performance measurement is related to the broader field of performance management, and then help them craft a performance management framework to help inform data collection, policy, funding decisions, and program monitoring.
If you never evaluate your programs you have no idea if they are working, worth doing, or have the opportunity to achieve even greater service excellence. Several of our staff team delight in undertaking program evaluations across a range of services such as children’s services, services to the LGBT community, and, homeless and housing programs.
Policies and Procedures
We believe that policies and procedures are necessary for program delivery so that there is an expectation in type of services delivered, acceptable service models for services, and accountability to end users of services as well as to peers and the funder. We have helped dozens of communities add meaning to their programs by helping them create appropriate policies and procedures for what they do, why they do it, and how they do it.
While Boards can take many forms (policy, governance, etc.), one thing we know to be true is that a strong Board with a cohesive vision gets better results. We have facilitated numerous retreats for Boards in the non-profit sector to help them maximize the potential of the organization they oversee, as well as sometimes help Boards work through complex service, personnel, leadership, and funding matters.
Political and strategic policy advice are amongst my favourite “secret” jobs to do. We don’t publish the list of elected officials or candidates for office that we provide advice to in order to help them craft their position in a way that promotes positive change. We have no allegiance to a specific party affiliation when doing so. Partnership trumps partisanship.
Establishing Housing First and Rapid Re-Housing Programs
Designing and delivering a highly effective Housing First and/or Rapid Re-Housing program starts with an investment in detailed training to ensure that the staff involved in the initiative have the breadth and depth of technical knowledge to fulfill the requirements of the intervention in such a way so as to maintain fidelity to the interventions. In many communities this turns into a 6 to 12 month engagement with the community to help them achieve excellence in their programs.
Facility and Program Realignment
Got transitional housing you don’t know what to do with anymore? A shelter you are looking to decommission? We have had the pleasure of working with communities to help them re-purpose what they do with the bricks and mortar when they work to realign programming so that the asset has the potential to assist the community.
In an era of decreased resources, it is imperative that we invest in change and spend on impact. We are happy to help many communities with their funding decisions – from creating frameworks to how they should view the allocation of funds, to working cooperatively with philanthropists; from how to support funding from a policy perspective to actually sitting on funding committees to provide an independent perspective and subject matter expertise where such technical knowledge is absent from the funders.
Over the years we have developed quite a robust training curriculum that we can make available to communities. Some of the more popular training courses are:
- Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool, and associated training:
- Train the Trainer
- Improving Case Management through SPDAT
- Improving Performance through SPDAT
- Assertive Engagement
- Promoting Wellness and Reducing Harm
- Objective-Based Interactions
- Performance Based Contracting
- Creating the Narrative of Success
- Change Cycle of Complex Social Issues
- Working Effectively with Elected Officials
- Data Driven Decision Making
- Housing-Based Motivational Interviewing
- Progressive Engagement
- Effective Permanent Supportive Housing Programming
- Accountability in Human Services
- High Functioning and High Performing Teams
- Being Awesome: How to Find Your Inner Awesome and Bring it to Your Work (And in case you didn’t know it, I am a fan of you being awesome)
Point in Time Counts
With GIS skills on the team, keen survey development and analysis tools, and established use of advanced statistical methods in Point in Time counts we help communities increase the accuracy of Point in Time counts while decreasing the number of volunteers and staff required to be involved. We also create meaningful reports from the Point in Time Counts that can be used for service improvements, policy-making and communications – not just another document that sits on a shelf. We have effectively guided Point in Time Counts in communities of all sizes.
Using a range of proven techniques we work with communities and organizations establish a direction of where they want to be in the future, and set about a course of how they will develop strategies and implement actions to get to the desired future.
Keynote & Motivational Speaking
Primarily using “edutainment” I love the opportunity to engage with audiences of all sizes and demographics to provide a new understanding of complex social issues and create a momentum towards positive change.