The state of California has launched the first-ever statewide data warehouse focused on homelessness. In a press release, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said the data warehouse will “allow the state to make data-driven policy decisions in its efforts to prevent and end homelessness.”

The platform, named the Homeless Data Integration System (HDIS), was developed by the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council (HCFC) in partnership with the state’s 44 Continuums of Care (CoCs). In a press release, Gov. Newsom said that HDIS has given the state insight into several metrics that were unavailable until its development. The platform facilitates coordination across the state by identifying patterns of homelessness, service usage across geographic regions, and support efforts to identify and address racial and other inequalities among people experiencing homelessness.

“You can’t fix what you can’t measure and having a statewide data system will help us determine what’s working and what isn’t, important insight we can use to create accountability and strengthen our response going forward,” said Gov. Newsom. “From this data, we see some bright spots – providing permanent housing to almost 100,000 homeless Californians every year and more than doubling our efforts to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place – but we know there is more work to do.”

HCFC said that the new data allows the council to offer a “comprehensive picture of efforts to address homelessness statewide, allowing the state and CoCs to answer key questions including about what services are being provided, who is accessing those services, and what interventions are proving to be most effective.

Back in 2020, California selected Plante Moran to develop the database. Gov. Newsom’s office said HDIS was developed on time and under budget, taking 15 weeks and $1.2 million. With an eye towards eventual expansion, the database can integrate other state-level data to show a fuller picture of the other social benefits and services being accessed by people experiencing homelessness, such as CalWORKS or CalFresh.

“HDIS provides a foundational piece of the state’s data infrastructure,” said Joy Bonaguro, chief data officer, California Government Operations Agency. “Before the HDIS, we had at best an infrequent and piecemeal snapshot of the homeless challenges in California. With the HDIS we will have an ongoing and holistic picture of how we can assess and improve services for those experiencing homelessness.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs