There’s a difference between measuring outcomes and chasing numbers. We need to continually look at data from the ETO software as well as qualitative reports from staff to make sure we understand what’s really happening with the youth we serve. We’re getting more informed about what challenges they face in finding housing, and what programs and services are most effective for helping them overcome those challenges. We use the ETO software to inform our operational decisions and strategic planning.
Since 1997, Covenant House Vancouver (CHV) has served homeless, at risk youth ages 16-24, who have fled physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse, who have been forced from their homes or who have aged out of foster care. To help youth begin and remain on the path to stability and independence, the agency provides a continuum of services composed of three core programs—Community Support Services (outreach and dropin), Crisis Shelter, and Rights of Passage (transitional living). Covenant House Vancouver also provides intensive Case Management support to youth to develop individualized case plans tailored to meet specific needs, including life skills training, housing support, or clinical counseling. In 2011, more than 1,500 unduplicated Vancouver youth accessed Covenant House Vancouver’s services. To increase successes and program effectiveness, CHV has employed performance management and outcomes measurement practices, and is working to understand the issues facing their target population.