User options for visualizing homeless data include comparing results from 2016 and 2017 for everyone who was homeless or for individuals who were sheltered or unsheltered, and subgroups broken out by gender, ethnicity, age, as well as a menu of detailed population characteristics. Results that can be compared include the size of each population group in 2016 and 2017, as well as the reasons people in each group gave for the cause of their homelessness, and their employment status.
Reliable estimates of time spent homeless during a year are important for an evidence-based intervention framework. Understanding the prevalence of short-term versus persistent episodes of homelessness enables accurate allocation of resources based on differing levels of need. The prevailing approach to homelessness prevention and intervention is “progressive engagement.” This entails treating new entrants into homelessness with a light touch and providing progressively more intensive services as needed to help individuals re-establish themselves in stable housing.