Despite New York's extensive service delivery infrastructure, people experiencing street homelessness in the city face many different and complex pathways towards finding stable housing. New York recognized a need to track these experiences to provide more direct, coordinated, and effective service delivery in the context of this broader journey.
The NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity) worked with the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to develop a stakeholder map to identify all relevant stakeholders in the process of providing and receiving assistance for homelessness. Using this guide, the team created a plan for conducting outreach to these stakeholders to research their needs and experiences. This included interviewing people experiencing homelessness, visiting agency offices, and shadowing street outreach workers.
The team recorded the results of their research by documenting and visualizing the entire service delivery process for people experiencing homelessness, including all of their interactions with government agencies and the relationships between agencies. This was the foundation for a journey map, which incorporated stakeholder feedback, and a corresponding narrative report to further describe the policies and realities of the end-to-end service. The team used these documents to bring stakeholders together at a workshop to identify areas for improvement and to plan new strategies for intervention.
Project Outcomes and Impact
HOME-STAT allows New York City agencies and service delivery partners to provide a more cohesive response to the homelessness crisis. In 2017, HOME-STAT helped 2,146 New Yorkers transition to more stable settings. Additionally, the initiative led to more expansive canvassing, improved processes for handling cases, and new case management tools designed with providers and easy-to-share databases for care coordination and reporting. The design led process helped inform the wider homelessness strategy for the city and was featured in the policy report.
Journey maps can help designers and agency staff visualize complexities and opportunities in processes while focusing on the needs of clients. NYC Opportunity also relied on interviewing partners, deep listening, and holding workshops. This fostered closer collaboration and created space for transforming the journey map into coordinated action across agencies.