Data Integration Across Jail & Homeless Services: A Blueprint for Success

CSH selected the Center for Data Science and Public Policy (DSaPP) at the University of Chicago to develop a web-based data integration tool, which was completed in 2018. The tool connects county jail administrative data from the justice system to homeless system data, through communities’ Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS). The tool utilizes a matching algorithm developed using machine learning, which can match the integrated data by personal identifiers and report the overlap between systems to administrators.

The data match can be done repeatedly over time, and can be used to understand the service profiles of persons who have long histories of engagement with these systems, advance policy, and programmatic solutions to address the needs of these persons and system service gaps. Four competitively selected communities deployed and piloted the data integration tool.

The communities, Boone County, Missouri; Clark County, Nevada; McLean County, Illinois; and Salt Lake County, Utah represent a cross-section of the country, complete with nuanced local politics, technical and administrative barriers and opportunities, distinctive geography, and scale.

Despite the differences in implementation, common themes did emerge. The challenges, advice, and insights of the communities are compiled and highlighted into five key themes and lessons learned that might advantage others’ data integration projects in our report Data Integration Across Jail & Homeless Services: Blueprint for Success.

CSH was able to provide technical assistance to the four communities thanks in part to support we received from Arnold Ventures. “We are excited to see how these four communities leveraged the power of combined data across jail and homeless services to provide critical supportive housing services to frequent utilizers," said Lynn Overmann, Arnold Ventures Vice President of Criminal Justice.  "By sharing the hard work and lessons learned in this effort, we are optimistic the Data Integration Blueprint will help other jurisdictions leverage cross-system data sharing to improve services to their most vulnerable populations.”


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