Optimize Your By-Name List (BNL) for Case Conferencing

November 18, 2019

From the Case Conferencing Action Pack

Make your BNL accessible

  • Show your BNL to the group: Participants are immediately more engaged when they are looking at names of who is homeless in their community as they discuss their cases. At an in-person meeting, project the BNL on a screen that everyone can view. At a virtual meeting, use Zoom, Google Hangouts, or any video chat platform to display the BNL via screen sharing.
  • Permissions: Ensure there are no procedural barriers for attendees to access the list. Check with your participants if any ROI’s or MOU’s are needed in order for them to access it and take immediate steps to grant them access. In the meantime, a work-around is to share a de-identified list with HMIS ID’s that participants can look up right then and there.
  • Ensure access between meetings: After every meeting, make sure the BNL is accessible to participants to look at before the next meeting. Send it out via email or keep it in a shared drive. This helps participants track their action steps and stay engaged.

Create fields to capture learning and commitment

  • This Week’s Obstacle: Record the obstacle that is making it difficult for the client to move toward housing. Remember that the obstacle is within your system, not within the client! The obstacle may change from week to week. Clarifying the obstacle will help your team come up with creative solutions, and recording it will reduce the need for repetitive updates at the next meeting.
  • Next Step, By When: Conclude the discussion of each client by recording a commitment—a next step and a date by which it will be completed. At the next meeting, ask if the next step happened as expected. If yes, what comes next? If no, what unexpected thing happened, and what can the team learn from it? Now set a new next step!
  • Target Move-In Date: See Facilitate the meeting for action: Set target move-in dates.

Include information that creates clarity and urgency

  • Case manager or agency: Listing this info for each client tells us who holds “the big red ball” in contributing to this client’s permanent housing.
  • Length of time on By-Name List: You may call it something different, but make sure the total wait time is clear.
  • Length of time since match: Include this date to make clear how long the client is waiting for help finding a unit. As a bonus, sorting by this column allows you to check at a glance what percentage of your list is matched.

Format the list for action

  • Hide fields that are not relevant to discussion about housing the client; such fields may include codes, repetitive or irrelevant info, or are artifacts from other reports/applications. If it’s not going to aid the discussion, ditch it from the version of the list that you use in this meeting!
  • Freeze the header row so that you can dynamically sort the list: Sometimes creative solutions come from doing detective work in your by-name list. Sort by columns to look for new patterns or change the sequencing in your facilitation.