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.

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.

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.