By-Name Lists

The information and resources here are intended to answer questions and support your community to develop and sustain a quality By-Name List on your journey to ending chronic and veteran homelessness.

Keep checking back here as we will be regularly updating materials and adding further resources.

What is a By-Name List?

A By-Name List is a real-time list of all known people experiencing homelessness in your community. It includes a robust set of data points that support coordinated access and prioritization at a household level and an understanding of homeless inflow and outflow at a system level. This real-time actionable data supports triage to services, system performance evaluation and advocacy (for the policies and resources necessary to end homelessness).

For further background information about By-Name Lists:
10 Steps to Create and Use a By-Name List

Click on the box below to access the three-page 10 Steps to Create and Use a By-Name List that provides you with the overall steps and links to further resources to help you develop, maintain and use a quality By-Name List. The webinar series below will walk you through the further details of the “10 Steps” and the community of practice presentations provide examples of how communities have created and use a By-Name List.

10 STEPS TO CREATE AND USE A BY-NAME LIST

Getting Started with a By-Name List – Webinar Series
Getting started with and continuously improving a By-Name List – Community of Practice calls
  • Community of Practice Calls 2021-2022 – includes recordings and presentation PDFs for 24 calls focused on getting started with a BNL. Hear from communities both new and experienced with BNLs. 
  • Community of Practice Calls 2022-2023 – includes recordings and presentation PDFs for 12 monthly calls focused on expanded BNL implementation and use of BNL data.
  • Community of Practice Calls 2023-2024 – includes recordings and presentations for monthly calls focused on maintaining and improving BNLs and connecting people with the services and supports they need.  
    • By-Name List Continuous Improvement Guide – July 14, 2023 – Recording and PDF
    • Reviewing Your Data and Asking the Right Questions – August 11, 2023 – Recording and PDF
    • Ontario BNL Service Manager Survey Results & Next Steps – August 25 – Recording and PDF
    • Prioritization, Matching, and Referral – September 8 – Recording and PDF
    • Ending Homelessness for People in Encampments – September 29 – Recording and PDF
    • Winter Response Planning – October 13 – Recording and PDF
    • Engaging Social Assistance in BNLs – November 17 – Recording and PDF
    • Housing Individuals with Higher Acuity – December 1 – Recording and PDF
    • Moving from Excel to HIFIS – December 15 – Recording and PDF
    • Challenges/Opportunities in Small, Rural and Northern Areas – January 12 – Recording and PDF
    • Improving Data Integrity – February 9 – Recording and PDF
    • Correction System Partnerships – March 8
By-Name List Scorecard 3.0 & Tools 

The By-Name List (BNL) Scorecard 3.0 is the updated 11 question self-assessment tool that assists you to take a snapshot of your local progress towards a quality By-Name List and identify areas for improvement. For an overview, see the BNL Scorecard 3.0 Launch – webinar or PDF and the Completing the BNL Scorecard – Recording (14 min) and PDF.

By-Name List Scorecard Guide

By-Name List Scorecard 3.0 Guide

Start by reviewing the By-Name List Scorecard Guide. The Guide explains what the BNL Scorecard is and walks you through each question (including a full explanation along with tips and resources).

Complete the By-Name List Scorecard

By-Name List Scorecard 3.0

Record your answers in the By-Name List Scorecard 3.0 and receive your score for Basic, Veteran and Advanced Quality. The BNL Scorecard 3.0 is part of the Scorecards & Tools Google Worksheet (view only – you can make a copy of to use for your community). The Scorecards & Tools Google Worksheet includes the following eight tabs:

    • Tab #1: Instructions
    • Tab #2: About Your Community
    • Tab #3: By-Name List Scorecard 3.0
    • Tab #4: Outreach Coverage and Coordination Tool
    • Tab #5: Coordinated Access Scorecard 3.0
    • Tab #6: Provider Participation Tool
    • Tab #7: Provider Participation Tool – Instructions and Results
    • Tab #8: Work Plan
  • Remember, your score is for improvement, not judgement.
  • Looking for an overview? Watch “Completing the BNL Scorecard” – Recording (14 min) and Presentation
  • Take the Scorecard with others in your community – here are some ideas for Scorecard Group Exercises.
  • Use the notes section to explain your answer and identify your next steps.
  • Note:

Scorecard Tools:

Privacy, Consent and Data Sharing

When we collect sensitive and personal information we have an obligation to protect the privacy, safety and dignity of the individuals whose information is collected.

canadian alliance to end homelessness resources:
HIFIS 4 Guidance:
  • Control and Protect Client Information (INFC, 2023) – an 8 page guide for HIFIS leads that provides a list of the HIFIS functions and settings that can be leveraged to control and protect the information entered into the system. It also provides details on who can manage the function or setting, how it can be turned on and off and its impact when activated. 
  • HIFIS Implementation Guide V.1 (ESCD, 2019) – see pages 21-23 for privacy and legal compliance information
  • Data Sharing and Privacy in HIFIS 4 (ACRE Consulting, 2018) – a 30-page document outlining what is shared and what isn’t. The introduction is a must read in order to support understanding of the full document.
Sample Consent and Data Sharing Agreements, Forms, & Materials from Communities:

 

Multiple Sample Documents on ACRE Website:

Brantford:

Dufferin County:

Guelph-Wellington:

Kawartha-Haliburton:

  • Coordinated Entry System Process Guide:
    • Multi-Agency Consent Form (see Appendix C)
    • By-Name List Identity Protection Process (see Appendix D)
    • By-Name List Addition and Consent Form (see Appendix H)

St. John’s:

Waterloo Region:

Windsor-Essex:

Homeless Individual and Family Information System (HIFIS)

HIFIS is a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) that can be used to collect, hold, manage and report on your By-Name List. This section is intended to serve as a one-stop for all things HIFIS related.

  • BNLs in HIFIS
    • HIFIS added increased By-Name List and Coordinated Access functionality with the December 2020 release of HIFIS version 59 and the October 2023 release of version 60.
    • Here are the CAEH HIFIS v59 monthly inflow/outflow reports (and accompanying Report Guide) that can support you to pull your aggregate BNL data.
    • Here is a webinar (2021) on communities’ early experiences using and exploring the new By-Name List and Coordinated Access functionality within HIFIS v.59.
    • Here is ACRE Consulting’s Guide to BNLs in HIFIS (May 2023, 20 pages) – this document is intended for local service provision coordinators who want to know exactly how a BNL relates to their HIFIS system. 
    • Here is an ACRE webinar (April 2023) reviewing the similarities and differences in the HIFIS Reports for the Reaching Home Community Homelessness Report (CHR) 2022/2023, the CAEH Monthly Inflow/Outflow Report, and Ontario Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP).
Sample By-Name List Excel Workbook
CAEH BNL Excel Workbook

See CAEH BNL Excel Workbook and CAEH BNL Excel Workbook Guide

For Ontario Only – See the CAEH BNL Excel Workbook – ON HPP edition.

The CAEH By-Name List Excel Workbook is a customizable interim approach for storing and using BNL data to end homelessness. It can be used until communities are able to fully implement a more sophisticated real-time Homelessness Management Information System (HMIS) like HIFIS 4 (the Homelessness Individual and Family Information System). The workbook is intended to be customized by communities for their unique needs. As is, the workbook meets the basic quality requirements for both the CAEH chronic and veteran BNL Scorecards. It is also designed to collect monthly inflow and outflow data.

To learn how to use this workbook, please consult the CAEH By-Name List Excel Workbook Guide. For further information and instructions, please refer to our By-Name List Excel Workbook Series and tips and tricks below.

Using excel – Tips
  • Excel skills are considered essential for managing BNLs in Excel and generally for further analysis of data, regardless of what database you use to hold your BNL
  • While BFZ-C does not provide Excel training, we have pulled together some recommendations for familiarizing yourself with Excel:
    • Learn what makes sense – Excel has so many functions that it’s impossible to learn them all. Fun fact: there are over 450 functions! Don’t focus on learning everything about Excel, or complex formulas, but learn what you need from Excel.
    • Learn by doing – After orienting yourself to some of the basics of Excel, just get started. Most people learn it best by playing around in Excel.
    • Use it frequently – The more often you use it and devote time to it, the better you will be at remembering functions and learning new things. Use it for everything and anything that makes sense so that your regular work tasks became Excel learning opportunities.
  • Excel training options you can consider
Sample Data Dashboards

Its not just about having data through your BNL – its about how you display it for further analysis to help make data-driven decisions in your community. Below are sample data dashboards from a number of communities.

Canada
Australia
United States
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH, USA) – State of Homelessness: State and Continuums of Care dashboards – up to 10 years of data visualized through Tableau
  • Chicago – HMIS data that is updated weekly and includes active client list data, coordinated entry client list data, and timeframe to housing data
  • King County Regional Homelessness Authority – using a combination of HMIS and PiT data, a number of dashboards that explore households served (updated monthly), system performance (updated quarterly/annually), overall inflow and outflow data (updated annually), and data examining system equity
  • Los Angeles County Homelessness Initiative – Using Tableau, this interactive tool provides a snapshot of how many people have been helped, and how, by Los Angeles County’s homeless services system, starting in July 2017. The dashboard tracks progress across the system over time, and also for specific populations.
  • St. Louis (Continuum of Care) – includes housing inventory data, PiT data, local performance dashboard, and Coordinated Entry dashboard
Coordinated Access – How It Connects

A By-Name List is the crown jewel of a strong Coordinated Access system (CA). A CA is a way for communities to design, streamline and bring consistency to the process by which people experiencing homelessness access housing and services. A strong CA uses a housing first approach along with a standardized and coordinated process for access, assessment, prioritization and referral for housing and other services across all the agencies and organizations in a local area.

This short 3 minute OrgCode video explains the difference between a By-Name List, Coordinated Access List and Prioritization List (and how they work together).

Further information and resources to support your work in developing and improving coordinated access and prioritization processes can be found on the Coordinated Access page of this website.

Leveraging By-Name List Data to End Homelessness
Webinars and Videos
  • How Communities are Using BNL Data To End Homelessness (CAEH webinar, 2021) – Recording and PDF
  • Using and Sharing Data to Improve Outcomes For Homeless Veterans (US) (10 min) – Recording
Community Reports and Presentations

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