National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference 2011 – aka #naeh11

My last tweet from the conference claimed that #naeh11 rocked harder than KISS on a stadium tour.

I stand behind that even as the days pass since the conference ended and reflection sets in and turns in part to wisdom. I think what made it rock for me this year was different than past conferences.

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Making Sense of Data

On one of my recent hotel stays, this is what the dashboard showed inside the elevator:

Now, there are a few interesting tidbits that make this story even better. First, when I checked in I was told I was on the 1st Floor, which is AKA “L”. Second, 5 is really the second floor. Third, there are only four floors to the hotel.

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Why I am stoked about the National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference

I love the National Alliance to End Homelessness conferences. Great networking. Great learning. Best conference there is on homelessness hands down. Did I mention that I have been doing presentations at the conferences for many years now? All around, super duper awesomeness.

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A Sweet Suite Upgrade, A Fire Alarm, Resuming What I Am Doing & The Guy Who Knocked on My Door

When I do work in Detroit, I tend to stay at the Motorcity Casino Hotel. The main reasons: it is located close to the offices of the organization I am doing work for; and, it is the cheapest hotel in the area on Expedia by a lot.

I stay in a lot of hotels. This is one of the best. Amazing staff. Clean. Fast WiFi. Oh, and the casino has a Star Wars slot machine (that only focuses on the original three movies, so it is cool – Jar Jar Binks free).

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What I do for a Living

I spend a lot of time in airports, airplanes, hotel lobbies and restaurants alone where I tend to eat at the bar. One of the inevitable questions in these types of environments is “What do you do for a living?”

Sometimes I use the bland “I’m a consultant.” But I have learned that begs more questions about what type of consultant I might possibly be.

Sometimes I say that I teach at York. Like saying “I’m a consultant” this usually leads to questions about what I teach.

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Four Essential Elements of a Comprehensive Performance Measurement System

In human services delivery, there are several effective approaches to performance measurement. My leaning is towards an approach that is comprehensive and system-focused, while remaining client-centred.

A comprehensive approach will have four essential elements:

  1. Identifying the chronically underperforming services.
  2. Identifying the services that can meet performance standards with a little coaching and/or technical assistance.
  3. Identifying outstanding services that not only exceed performance targets, but also have a unified commitment throughout the organization on performance excellence, use of evidence-based practices and a sincere commitment to continuous improvement.
  4. Emphasis on financial stewardship.
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Prioritizing Who Gets Served Next Matters – The Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (SPDAT)

When I led the largest Housing First program in North America, one of the things that bothered me was that we had no defensible way to prioritize who we served next. We dabbled with different instruments and had some stellar research thanks to folks like Toby Druce – but couldn’t quite put our finger on exactly how to prioritize who got served next and why. At least not in a defensible, reliable, consistent and valid way.

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