Watch the video below to see our speaker discuss the impact of neglected data in our work.
Short cross-sectional studies of the characteristics of homeless people garner a lot of attention, but several other varieties of data, now neglected, bear a lot more useful information. But neglecting these often neglected data has led to serious errors – and might do so again.
Our speaker discusses two varieties of data in particular – point in time counts and stocks and flows – to demonstrate how they can illuminate both policy-making and understanding.
Our speaker also answered a few additional questions that he did not have time to answer during the webinar:
Dan O’Flaherty: professor of economics at Columbia University
Dan teaches urban economics and the economics of race. His books include Making Room: The Economics of Homelessness (1996), How to House the Homeless, with Ingrid Ellen (2010), The Economics of Race in the United States (2015), and Shadows of Doubt: Crime, Stereotypes, and the Pursuit of Justice, with Rajiv Sethi (2019). He has served as an aide to Kenneth A. Gibson, the first African American mayor of a major northeastern city.
Dan O’Flaherty has been studying homelessness for 30 years. He does so from the point of view of an economist, which means that he bases his ideas and recommendations on data, which is the focus for Data That Makes a Difference.
Mr. O’Flaherty has a ‘relaxed’ style of speaking and writing that makes difficult concepts and associated policy recommendations easily understood by non-experts.
These characteristics mean he can blend the best of both worlds; as he is well-respected as an expert in the field of the economics of homelessness, but he is also able to place what he finds into a broader context using familiar, non-technical language.
About Data That Makes a Difference
This webinar series is significant in the homelessness data community because it offers an avenue where researchers can connect to enhance collaboration, partnerships, and engage in discussion around how they are using their data towards ending homelessness. By sharing data, it becomes possible to support new and more impactful analyses and produce more accurate results to inform the allocation of resources toward ending homelessness in our communities. In the webinar series, presenters describe and discuss how their data sets address homelessness and ask thought-provoking questions to foster discussion on future research and collaboration.
This partnership between Calgary Homeless Foundation and The School of Public Policy allows for a union of homeless-serving sector knowledge through an academic platform.
The two organizations work closely to provide an increased understanding of how public policy and research can consistently improve the quality of care for those experiencing homelessness. The hope of both Calgary Homeless Foundation and The School of Public Policy is that partnerships will emerge – nationwide and beyond – to create a Canadian network of collaborative and data-informed homelessness research.
Data That Makes a Difference – A Brief History
For the past four years, Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) and the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy have hosted researchers from across the country at our annual homelessness data-sharing initiative. The 5th annual event was postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Up until 2020, the Data That Makes A Difference annual conference took place over two days and was focused on highlighting data and the ways in which we use data to make a difference in ending homelessness in Canadian communities. It also highlighted innovative practices in data utilization; analysis and demonstration; and examined how data is utilized to drive impact in the homeless-serving sector. Discussions also included how we can use our collective data to produce better, more accurate results to inform the allocation of resources and end homelessness in our communities.
As we continue to evaluate all in-person gatherings under the direction of government and health officials, CHF and SPP made the decision to move forward with the Data That Makes a Difference as a webinar series.