“Close your eyes and picture home. What do you see?” asked Primavera Foundation CEO Tisha Tallman at a recent NeighborWorks regional convening presentation in Phoenix.
This question has inspired an intentional and deliberate data-driven reset on what we, as housing providers, do and how we approach it.
People experiencing, or on the brink of experiencing, homelessness need more than a house. They need that feeling of home – people, community – a sense of belonging. This is what makes all the difference, identifying the distinctions between what is a house and what makes a home.
However, we can’t provide that sense of belonging, or determine what that sense of belonging is, for each individual without asking our participants, including them through input and decision making. For that reason, we asked our participants that very question.
This qualitative data gathering from our participants has led us to start creating more opportunities for their input and involvement in decision-making. We are now in the process of creating a lived experience advisory council and a residential advisory council, ensuring ‘first voice’ participation moving forward.
This initial collection of qualitative data has also extended to service provider convenings. The intent is to identify gaps in service to meet needs.
Comparing our own qualitative data of who we serve against community data, we also realized we were not reaching everyone. That is why we are now starting a mobile outreach unit, meeting people where they are.
With this intentional and deliberate data-driven reset, we will enhance positive outcomes to safe, affordable, equitable and dignified permanent housing for all we serve.