In the social sector, policy change is facilitated when there is a substantial data evidence to back up anecdotal stories. With our data, we are able to inform donors, stakeholders, government, and the community. As a non-profit organization, Inn from the Cold relies heavily on data to meet its ever-changing needs of the diverse families that we serve. To make the greatest impact, we must ensure our progress is driven by research and data. With better knowledge, we can improve the overall system of care and work towards ending family homelessness.
Data management is a critical part of our work as it informs and measures the impact and success of our programs while also helping us identify gaps and demand for resources to better serve vulnerable families. David Sandoz is the Inn’s Manager of Reporting & Evaluation – he and his team work hard to recognize trends in family homelessness to help us implement action.
In April of 2022 the Data, Research, and Evaluation (DRE) team was collaborated with the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy to publish a report on family homelessness using data from the Inn. The resulting exposure is extremely important due to the lack of data on family homelessness across the sector.
With the rise in the cost of living, demand for our services has been through the roof since the beginning of the year. In fact, on any given night about 200 families in Calgary are experiencing homelessness: we want to end that.
David emphasizes the importance of data when it comes to establishing new programs, such as our Prevention and Diversion program. This program helps families find housing quickly and sustainably once in shelter or avoid shelter entirely. Ultimately, data helps the Inn build programs that better meet the needs of families.
Looking ahead, David wants to grow the DRE program in order to continuously and efficiently interpret the data and stories from the families that we serve – to share with the rest of the community in order to create social change. In doing so, we want to eradicate family homelessness in our community.