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.

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.

Does This Help?

HT to Buzzfeed; Rain City Housing in Vancouver is building park benches that fold up into semi-sheltered sleeping places.

RainCity-Housing-Bench-FEELDESAIN-OPEN

It seems that it was more of a publicity effort than anything, aimed more at commuters than at those who might actually sleep on the benches.  (Which renders the benches more as art objects than tools.)  Rain City Housing provides a full range of housing services from emergency shelter to permanent housing, and the benches included contact information and addresses for the organization, inviting people to reach out for additional support.

Do these benches help move people into permanent housing?  My short answer is I don’t know.  I appreciate the creativity, the design, the provocation, the referral information, and to a small extent the practicality of the benches.  On the other hand, I’m aware of their shadow side that legitimizes the idea that some of our neighbors experiencing homelessness are sleeping on benches.

I suppose on balance, I support the bench project; the benefits are real and immediate, while the drawbacks are abstract.  Then again, that might just be near-far bias speaking.

What do you think?

The Cost of Chronic Homelessness

A succinct article from Mental Health Association Oklahoma about the cost of chronic homelessness, based on a study out of Central Florida (along with it’s own related article):

What does $31,000 buy? Life on the Streets

Yet another plea for an increase in permanent housing with wrap-around services and case management vs, people living on the streets and/or constantly in and out of shelters. Side note: That’s not to say that there isn’t usefulness in emergency shelters – effectiveness is proven when used as a conduit to permanent housing or as a place to assess a homeless individual’s needs to get them re-housed (but that might be a different blog for a different day).

“The media outlets, homelessness advocates and the general public were fixated on how $85 per day will give someone an overpass above their heads at night in Florida, whereas $27 will provide the same person safe and affordable housing.”

Right… people on the streets cost tax payer dollars for law-enforcement and jail stays (largely for nonviolent offenses and transport), emergency-room visits and hospitalization, which = roughly $31,000 a year per person. The approximate annual cost of permanent housing and case managers for that same person = $10,000. Um. I’m no good at math, but this equationeed changen doesn’t seem that hard.

Sure, there are barriers. There are always barriers. But this can help people. All of us. Win-win. It seems to make better sense to invest in something that is going to save money for the public in the future as well as better assist individuals in need.

Home

With the recent death of Maya Angelou, I came across one of her many lovely quotes.

door with quoteSo many of us work with individuals and families who don’t have that safe place. Who are questioned all the time. By us. Don’t get me wrong – that’s part of our jobs. To ask some of those hard, often uncomfortable questions that get to the root of why this person or this family ended up at my agency, sitting in my office, requesting some assistance. But another part of my job is to recognize that this person or this family probably aches for home. For a comfortable, stable place in a world in which they don’t need to sit in my office and be asked a lot of questions.

May you rest in peace, Dr. Angelou. Thank you for putting to words what many of us forget.