How System Modeling Can Help Build a Stronger Response to Homelessness

System modeling is an effective tool to understand the way homeless people navigate the variety or systems and programs in an area, which can ultimately lead to more efficient and cost-effective service provision. A report from The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness details steps involved in system modeling for homeless services, including listing desired aspects of a homeless services program, estimating the population size, reviewing existing data on which programs are being accessed and for how long, identifying intervention combinations that will lead to permanent housing, and using those figures and interventions to develop an ideal model to distribute resources effectively. By taking a broad look at the state of existing programs, using actual data to make utilization projections and assumptions, and reviewing new data periodically to ensure resources remain efficiently distributed, system modeling can be a powerful way to combat homelessness. This article also discusses a case study where system modeling in Indianapolis helped reduce homelessness for youth and young adults.
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