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  • The Center for Rural Homelessness

Policy Watch - Texas



BILL NUMBER: House Bill 2533

BILL NAME: Relating to the implementation of a statewide homeless data sharing network to share real time data on homelessness.

BILL STATE: Texas

BILL SPONSORS/ CO-SPONSORS: Rep. Armando Walle (D), Rep. Gary Gates (R), Rep Ana Hernandez (R), Rep Mihaela Plesa (D), Sen Judith Zaffirini (D)

BILL STATUS: Passed in the House on May 3rd, voted out of Senate Committee on Local Government on May 22nd, placed on Intent Calendar on May 24th.

BY: Ethan Heifetz

BILL SUMMARY:

  • The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, in conjunction with the Texas Homeless Network, would implement a data sharing network for any data regarding homeless populations throughout the state.

  • The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs would then be responsible for partnering with health benefit plan issuers and managed care organizations to both identify those individuals experiencing homelessness, and then connect and refer those individuals to housing assistance programs.

  • All confidential information that is shared through the data sharing network would not be disclosed.

KEY IMPLICATIONS:

  • The purpose of this legislation is to better coordinate agencies across the state and better allocate resources to fighting homelessness. Having a single database ensures rapid access to information and prevents individuals from being double counted or skipped over.

LEGISLATIVE SUGGESTIONS:

  • The Center for Rural Homelessness suggests that in addition to connecting individuals experiencing homelessness to housing assistance programs, these individuals and their families should be referred to employment opportunities and job assistance programs.

  • The Center for Rural Homelessness suggests that this data sharing network should be linked to the National Homeless Data Analysis Project (NHDAP) which is operated by the US department of Housing and Urban Development. This action would allow for a more efficient allocation of resources and would allow for better coordination between state and federal agencies with similar goals.

  • The Center for Rural Homelessness suggests that the data sharing network follows the same guidelines as the HMIS systems to allow for seamless data integration statewide.

  • The Center for Rural Homelessness suggests the implementation of rigorous stress-testing protocols that includes simulated scenarios involving data inaccuracies, irregular data influx from remote or rural areas, and system failures. This stress testing should assess the system's performance under adverse conditions to ensure its reliability in areas with less accurate data, ultimately improving its effectiveness and responsiveness.



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