Program Evaluation for the Homelessness Sector

Using Outcomes with Participants

This lesson is about using the data you are collecting to inform the day-to-day operations of the program for both staff and participants.

Covenant House Toronto/Vancouver video

It’s not about chasing numbers - it’s about understanding what’s going on in your program. If you can do a really good job of that, all the other things come together.

What do you think?

Both organizations in Toronto and Vancouver are collecting data about the Rights of Passage program on an ongoing basis. What benefits of using real-time data and evaluation in these programs was mentioned in the video?

A. Data is used to provide feedback to current participants to monitor their progress toward goals.

B. Program staff use data to inform improvements t the program. 

  • A because participants collect and monitor data for their own self-improvement.
  • B because program staff review the data to make sure the program is being delivered as intended.

Both of the reasons stated above are examples of ways to use real-time data from programs. In the video, program staff discuss how the data collected is used with participants to help them monitor progress toward their goals.

Here is an example of a tracking sheet used in the Rights of Passage program.  


In the video, John Harvey, Director, Covenant House Vancouver describes the initial reaction of staff to the discussion on the use of outcome measures. He summed up their (mainly negative) response as: “How dare we measure love in terms of cold, hard data!” (Go to 07:15 to review his comments again).

How did staff come around to understanding this approach? Would you be reluctant to use measurement tools to capture and quantify abstract concepts like love,  compassion and social connectedness? If you do, why? If not, why not? 

If you would like to share your thoughts with other people who are taking this training, post a comment in the discussion forum.