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Locations

Oakland, CA, USA

industry

Community and Lifestyle · Government and Military · Information Technology · Software

Stage

Other

founded in

2017

HomeKeeper think they are well on their way to solving a familiar problem: how do they balance the benefits of outcomes reporting against the burden on staff? They all want better data about the impact of their work, but they don’t want to take staff time away from making an impact in order to measure impact. HomeKeeper was built to solve this problem and transform the way nonprofits and local governments manage affordable homeownership programs. Cornerstone Partnership, is an initiative of Capital Impact Partners, a community development financial institution. Cornerstone Partnership is a peer-network of affordable homeownership programs managed by non-profits and local governments. They have over 700 members to date, primarily representing local non-profits and local governments. Much of the initial leadership, vision and funding for Cornerstone and HomeKeeper has come from the Ford Foundation. But they recently won a competitive $5 million grant from the Social Innovation Fund which is a White House initiative to support evidence based innovations that promise to tackle challenging social problems. And they were also just awarded a 2012 Force for Change grant from the Salesforce Foundation to support their efforts to take HomeKeeper to scale. They are so grateful they have generously supported their efforts and acknowledging that performance measurement does not come without a cost. HomeKeeper is just one part of their broader initiative designed to improve the way that their nonprofit sub-sector does their work. From the beginning, they have engaged a very broad set of National Outreach Partners including all of the national organizations that work with or represent local affordable homeownership programs. Together their Partners and local programs from around the country helped us identify shared principles and common outcome metrics. They then identified commons gaps in performance measurement, and in particular, the data points that would help them better tell their story. They also coordinated an “Early Adopter” pilot program with a diverse group of 32 organizations to help us collectively design and test HomeKeeper. One of the first things they did when they launched Cornerstone was partner with the Urban Institute to measure the real outcomes of seven affordable homeownership programs. The results of this first-ever cross-site evaluation were extremely compelling. But aggregating apples and oranges was a tedious process and enough motivation to develop HomeKeeper. It took a team of researchers and interns, and hours of staff time to dig up paper files. One of the lessons they learned was that it would be impossible to replicate this study on a larger scale without some standard tool that programs would use to collect data. Just to highlight one finding: In traditional ownership, less than half of low income buyers were still owners 5 years later; in their programs, 90% were. That is a big difference in outcomes. But measuring longer term outcomes like this is still rare. Most homeownership programs and their funders default to counting outputs – like how many homes they sell or how many households were served or how many millions of dollars were given in tax credits or grants to first time buyers. But as they know, getting people into homes is only half the story. They have built HomeKeeper to help tell the whole story. HomeKeeper is just part of their ambitious effort at the local, regional, and national level. Each HomeKeeper app links to the HomeKeeper National Data Hub. The Hub aggregates and crunches HomeKeeper data from programs, and calculates their common social impact metrics. Once their Hub reporting portal is complete (2014), HomeKeeper members will get benchmarking reports. For the first time, they’ll be able to gain fresh insight by seeing their outcomes and performance alongside the averages for their peer group and the user group as a whole. They didn’t set out to build a software product. They have designed HomeKeeper from the ground up to help programs use evidence to better understand what works. It is their belief that when people see what works for other people like them, they will change what they do.

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