Data Today Is Housing Tomorrow

Heading Home of South Central Indiana hosted a cross-agency training with guest presenter Elliot Keawe Juanita Zans.

On September 12, 2023, Heading Home of South Central Indiana hosted a cross-agency training featuring guest presenter Elliot Keawe Juanita Zans. This training – titled “With Great Power: Data Today is Housing Tomorrow” – can be viewed here. Click here for the slidedeck.

The session focused on understanding the role of a relationship-centered approach in the context of data and client care. Elliot also described the Collective Impact Framework and how it can be used to structure a case manager’s week. They discussed how data impacts everyone and stressed the importance of data stewardship. 

Elliot is an HMIS (Homelessness Management Information System) technical assistance coordinator for the Coalition for Homeless Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) in Indianapolis and is a self-described data ambassador. Along with their role as a data ambassador, Elliot is also a co-producer of the Homeward Indy podcast. This podcast highlights the inspiring work done to address homelessness and raise awareness in the Indianapolis community. 

At the training, Elliot gave a brief introduction to the work they do, as well as their background. They opened up the floor for everyone to chat and introduce themselves. Elliot took a moment to acknowledge the climate in which people are doing housing security work in the state of Indiana. They stated that Indiana has had an increase in evictions and rental rates, as well as decreases in wages and available affordable housing. 

The training included many interactive activities where participants got to work with the people at their table and share their insights on various topics, such as relationship building. 

Elliot described the Collective Impact Framework and its role in addressing social issues. The framework promotes collaboration and shared responsibility and allows people to strategize accordingly. 

There are five tenants in the Collective Impact Framework. These are the common agenda, a shared measurement system, the backbone support organization, mutually reinforcing activities, and continuous communication. 

Elliot stressed the importance of relationships when it comes to working in the field of housing security. They discussed the important difference between transactional and transformational relationships. 

“If you do not have good relationships, the other work will be unnecessarily harder,” Elliot said. 

Elliot discussed data quality and the components that make it up. These include accuracy, completeness, and timeliness. 

Navigating time with clients and data entry can be a hard compromise. However, Elliot said that data entry is essential and it is in fact a direct service act, despite it not feeling like it sometimes. 

They also think it is important to set boundaries with your time when working in the field of housing security. In order to do this, Elliot said to be realistic and be clear about your expectations and your work schedule. 

“Set new expectations with your clients about your availability. Turn your work phone to do not disturb so you can still check your texts,” Elliot said. 

Ultimately, Elliot shared valuable information on the importance of quality data in order to best serve clients in the community.