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.

2014 HMIS Data Standards Implemented in MAACLink KC

We are excited to announce that as of October 1st, the 2014 HUD HMIS Data Standards have been implemented in MAACLink.  You can read about the process of implementation in Megan’s blog HUD publishes new HMIS Data Standards Manual and HMIS Data Dictionary.  Overall, the implementation of the 2014 HMIS Data Standards has been a great success.  We know  change is never easy, but hopefully these changes will help us to continue improving our methods of addressing homelessness in our communities.

One of the biggest changes for agencies is collecting new and additional information on computer meetingtheir clients.  To assist in collecting this information we have created a revised assessment form that can be used by agencies that have programs funded by HUD, SSVF, ESG, and PATH.  You can check out the new form on our MAACLink Forms page where you will find the PDF of the New 2014 HMIS Intake Form .

HUD has also provided some helpful tools related to the new 2014 HUD Data Standards on their website as well.  If you are a HUD-funded agency you may want to check out the section on HMIS Data Standards Updates – What Does October 1st Really Mean.   You can find also find additional training tools and resources at the HUD Exchange under the section for HMIS guides and tools.

We know change can be difficult for everyone.  Remember that the MAAC staff are available as a resource for you!  If you, or anyone at your agency, has questions about these changes we are happy to help you.  As always, MAACLink KC tech support is free and unlimited so don’t hesitate to contact any one of the MAAC Staff with your questions.

A Great Turnout at MAAC’s 29th Annual Training Conference

MAAC’s 29th Annual Training Conference, Champions for Change, was held on September 23, 2014 and had a great turnout with approximately 150 services providers in attendance!  We enjoyed a great time of networking and learning.  We also enjoyed getting to see our fellow colleagues show off their thrift store styles in the Annual Fashion Show.  Thank you to everyone who participated and we hope to see you again next year!Annual Conference Logo 2014

Thank you also to the businesses that donated items for the gift baskets including:

The Culinary Center of Kansas City

Glow Imagery

Indigo Wild

Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue

Nature’s Own Health Food Market

Paul Mesner Puppets

The Roasterie

SPIN Neapolitan Pizza

Kansas City T-Bones

Union Station

Velvet Creme Popcorn

Kansas City Chiefs 

Local Food Waste Solutions

One theme I keep returning to on this blog is food insecurity in the US and the millions of tons of food that goes to waste every year. Basically 7.5 pounds of food per day gets tossed for every hungry American. I’ve already highlighted a few agencies that are taking new and innovative steps toward saving that food to feed the hungry and today I’m happy to add a local agency to that list.

The Society of St. Andrew has taken a page from the history books and has implemented gleaning throughout the area, and around the nation. Gleaning is the practice of collecting the fallen, forgotten or unwanted produce in the field, produce that is perfectly good but, for whatever reason, was left unharvested by the farmer. In biblical times gleaners were the poor themselves; today in KC The Society sends out crews of regular folk, volunteers mostly, to harvest the unwanted bounty that would otherwise rot in the field. The gleaned harvest is then distributed to multiple agencies that serve the poor.

For more information or to sign up to glean yourself visit: http://www.endhunger.org/volunteer.htm

 

Here’s a great video interview with director Lisa Ousley about the work SoSA does locally.

http://www.endhunger.org/VideoPages/video_page_41.htm

What local food waste solutions have you tried?

Kansas Housing Cost/Benefit Analysis Released by Kim Wilson Housing

Kim Wilson Housing recently published the results of a months-long research effort into the costs of various housing and other interventions in Kansas.  Broadly, I think its results match those of similar studies done previously nationwide, and reinforce the excellent cost/benefit value of permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing.

Read the report for yourself right here: Cost Benefit Analysis for KS 2014-final

My thoughts:

  • Keeping Kansans homeless is very expensive!  A person experiencing homelessness in Kansas accesses about $153.00 of services – including ambulance and ER services, encounters with police, emergency shelter, etc. – per day.  In contrast, permanent supportive housing (which decreases uses of these other services drastically) costs about $29 per day for scattered-site projects (i.e. rent vouchers and wrap-around services).  Budget-minded taxpayers ought to favor increasing permanent supportive housing, it seems to me!
  • The cost of an ambulance ride plus an emergency room visit is roughly equal to that of providing 61 days of permanent supportive housing in a scattered site project.  ER “frequent fliers” can access the ER several times per month; identifying and housing these folks drastically improve their health, along with saving money!

The way we do things now results in huge, mostly hidden, costs to all of us for emergency health, police, and housing services.  There are better ways that, together, communities across the country are working toward.  They have to make sense locally, but they all include improved data systems, collection, and reporting, re-allocation of resources toward permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing, and housing first-style priorities (i.e. our system does not prolong someone’s homelessness due to addiction, lack of “job readiness,” criminal record, etc.).

If you had a housing crisis tonight, which system would you want to encounter?  The one we have now?  Or the one we’re building?

Reasons to Smile

Today as we reflect on the tragic events of 13 years ago, our thoughts are with the thousands affected by 9/11 as well as our country and its leaders.

Tribute in Light

It seems like it’d also be a good time to point out just a few things I’ve recently seen that might give us some reasons to smile… Because that’s never a bad thing.

Like this Indianapolis police officer who stopped not to hassle a homeless man, but instead to give him a new pair of boots. And the indy police officer shares bootsfact that an Indiana Pacers player captured it on his drive home from the gym and shared it with his almost 200K Instagram followers, is just icing on the cake.

 

shower bus

 

Or these retired San Francisco Muni Buses that a woman, with the help of the city, turned into mobile showers for the homeless.

 

Also, this agency in Vancouver who created pop-up shelters for their homeless out of existing city benches. The benches also give more info about how to get connected with their services.

park bench shelter

And just yesterday here in our very own KC, the sweetest thing I’m so happy to have witnessed all week (maybe so far all month) – on a corner just south of the Plaza where you can commonly find a homeless person with their sign, an older gentleman stood just that way. Trying to ask for some compassion; whether he was looking for money or food or some work, I’m not sure. I was stopped at a light headed in a direction not facing him and didn’t even notice until one of the cars going toward him slowed and rolled down their window. A hand emerged holding two large boxes of pizza and grocery sack with what appeared to be a couple two-liters of soda. I wish that I had a video of not only the kind act, but the huge, seemingly never-ending (nearly toothless) grin on his face! The little jig he danced and the gratitude and almost disbelief he showed to the person in the car will hold in my memory. We know that didn’t solve all his problems, but wow… for that moment, he had a reason to smile. It was one of the greatest looks of joy I’ve seen.

So this week, as we remember the past and quite possibly have some difficult days, I’m going to try to remind myself that it’s often the little things that make a big difference.