MAAC’s Mission

Strengthening the Social Service Community through Information Systems, Training, and Advocacy

Welcome to MAACLink!

Information Systems

MAACLink is a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and social service software suite developed and maintained by the Mid America Assistance Coalition. The system contains vital information regarding services provided to individuals throughout the communities MAAC serves. Access to this information helps service agencies manage limited resources more efficiently by:

  • Minimizing duplication of services
  • Capturing information about unmet community needs
  • Identifying households that could benefit from more comprehensive case management or support services

Training

MAAC provides Strengths Based Case Management training – a best practice in working with homeless populations – for caseworkers. This takes an approach of looking at and building on clients’ strengths.  Each year, MAAC also hosts an Annual Training Conference in Kansas City, designed to provide continuing education and information to over 200 service providers and agencies.

Advocacy

MAAC is involved in advocacy efforts for homeless and low-income people and families, including utility assistance and homeless services. The MAAC Fund Management Program distributes more than $600,000 in privately donated utility assistance each year.

What’s Next For 100,000 Homes?

The national 100,000 Homes Campaign reached its goal one month ahead of schedule, housing 101,628 people as of June 30.  Locally, we housed 434 people (including 107 veterans) in under two years.  This was more the double our original goal of 200!

What’s next?  The Zero:2016 Campaign to end homelessness for veterans and chronically homeless individuals by December 31, 2016.

Communities – specifically, HUD COCs – must apply to join Zero:2016, and the KC/Jackson COC is currently considering whether and how to apply.  I’ll be speaking at the COC’s meeting tomorrow to provide background information and answer questions about the campaign.

If we apply and are accepted, in many ways we’ll continue what we’ve been doing for 100,000 Homes.  We’ll survey people experiencing homelessness with the VI-SPDAT assessment, use those assessment results to guide our use of our permanent housing and rapid re-housing resources, work together in housing and outreach teams to offer our homeless neighbors appropriate housing options, help move them into housing (the most important step!), and support them according to their assessed needs.

In another way, however, Zero:2016 would be a game-changer in Kansas City.  The local 100,000 Homes campaign has been a voluntary coalition of the enthusiastic.  Zero:2016 would bring the institutional resources of the COC, the local Veterans Affairs office, and the public housing authority into the campaign.  Decisions regarding participation in the process I described in the previous paragraph might well have higher stakes.

More and more in the social services world, funding is shifting to coordinated, data-driven methods that have been demonstrated to work.  Zero:2016 is at the leading edge of this sea change, but whether or not we join the campaign locally I expect that in a few years our work will look like what the campaign is advocating for.  I say let’s make the change now, for the sake of the people we serve.  Ending homelessness, here we come!

2014 NAEH National Conference on Ending Homelessness

NAEH 2014 National Conference on Ending Homelessness…

took place July 29th-31st in Washington DC. And it was a great one! The feedback and comments about the workshop sessions as well as the speakers (First Lady Michelle Obama!) was very positive.

As an HMIS vendor, but also an interested champion in our field, MAAC staff attends the NAEH conference as both an exhibitor (see our awesome info table below) and as registered conference attendees.

naeh 2014 vendor tableSome of our highlights…

- First Lady Michelle Obama was the featured speaker on the last day of the conference. Read her remarks here. It was exciting. And required tons of security clearance and planning. Wow. But it was a great experience for the conference attendees!

- I attended HUD’s workshop on System Performance Measures. It was an introduction to understanding system-level performance measurement throughout entire CoCs. This is very important to us. This data will come from (and be calculated in) HMIS*. Even more so, it will be critical for CoC leaders and all of the HMIS participating agencies to understand how entering  their data affects what these reports tell us about the effectiveness of our programs, community-wide. I see lots of training in our futures! And that’s a good thing :)

* HUD was very clear in stating that the guidance they are giving on this not yet be programmed in or pulled from HMIS until they release the programming specifications later this Fall. Reporting on these performance measures won’t be required until later next year.

- Wednesday’s lunch Keynote speakers were NJ Senator Cory Booker and HUD Secretary Julian Castro. They were super! The Senator was very motivational and a great speaker.

- I also attended a Q&A Session with HUD on Thursday morning which was pretty informative from all perspectives of homeless programming. MAAC’s fearless leader, John, attended several other sessions throughout the conference that he felt very worthwhile including one with Iain De Jong (orgcode.com) that was packed and so standing-room-only that you could barely get through the door.

- Of course it would be very “un-MAAC” of me to leave out something about food! I had the pleasure of enjoying dinner one evening with John and our KS Balance of State friend/colleague, James. I have to give James props for this restaurant choice and would highly recommend it if you’re ever in DC (there are 3 locations) – Busboys and Poets. It was fantastic… not a chain; excellent, locally sourced food; and a really chill atmosphere.

As a participant and exhibitor, I’d say this year’s NAEH conference was a success and look forward to MAAC’s future attendance opportunities.

 

A Word About Passwords

These days just about every website requires a password.  You need a password to log into your email, to view your calendar, to pay your bills, to view your child’s report card, and even to see your dog play on the web-cam at doggie daycare.  Unfortunately, because passwords are so commonplace, some of us have become a little lazy with how we handle them.

Here at the MAAC office we take passwords very seriously, but we also love jokes, so I’m going to use this illustration to share a few important tips about passwords:

underwear-tech-joke-password

Image credit: Ray Stevens with Retail and Technology Solutions

-Changing your MAACLink password is important. Luckily for you, MAACLink will automatically prompt you to change your password every 90 days.  If you want to change it more frequently, we offer you options for that as well.

-We don’t recommend writing your MAACLink password down where everyone can see it.  In fact, I recommend not writing your password down at all.  The worst case scenario would be that you forget your password in which case you can call the MAAC office and we can reset it for you.

-We also don’t recommend sharing your MAACLink password with anyone, ever.  If someone needs to access MAACLink and can’t get in, have them call the MAAC office and we will be happy to point them in the right direction.

My hope is that the next time you’re tempted to write your password on a post-it and stick it to your monitor you will remember this comic and shred that sucker.

New ESG HMIS Intake Form

One of my goals as an HMIS Administrator is to make data entry as easy and as painless as possible. Sometimes this is a lofty goals given all the requirements put on us by the powers that be. Other times, however, we are able to create simple tools to help you; our user!

Last week the *new* ESG HMIS Intake form was created. This form is a paper version of the entire ESG Assessment found in MAACLink. Now, you’re able to have exactly what you need on paper before you sit down to do your ESG HMIS data entry.

If you had been using the HMIS Entry Form then you were collecting more data than needed to be entered. If you weren’t using any form than you might have been collecting too little. With this new ESG HMIS Intake form you will collect just the right amount.

This new form, as well as many other forms, can be found under MAAC Product Support>MAACLink Forms.

maaclink.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/ESG-Assessment-2014.pdf

Happy Data Entry!

MAAC’s 29th Annual Training Conference

Mid America Assistance Coalition 29th Annual Training Conference

Champions for Change

September 23, 2014

2014 Registration Form

To register online Click Here – This electronic registration is only good if you are paying by credit card.  If paying by check, please submit a paper registration form.

Annual Conference Logo 2014

This year’s keynote speaker will be William K. Black, the Associate Professor of Economics and Law at University of Missouri – Kansas City.  Learn more about Bill Black at http://law.umkc.edu/faculty-staff/people/black-william.asp.