[Hpn] Tulsa, Ok - homeless providers to connect with database -

editor editor" <hcc@icanamerica.org
Tue, 4 Nov 2003 04:42:10 -0500

Tulsa homeless providers to connect with database of client

Associated Press - The Lawrence Journal-World - November 4, 2003

Tulsa, Ok - The business of caring for the homeless has become
more advanced than just passing out blankets and food.

By the end of the year, information about people who are homeless
in the Tulsa area will go into a computer system that tracks
their medical, housing and food needs. The new software, called
Share Link, will connect homeless providers to one database.

People who are homeless will no longer have to repeat their
personal information each time they see a case manager, said Jim
Lyall of the Homeless Services Network.

With Share Link, the most vital information can be accessed by
mental health providers and shelter staff.

Clients must choose to become part of the system and sign a
permission form. Extreme care and consideration are going into
the wording of the form, Lyall said.

"We want to make sure they totally understand what it is that
will be put into the system about them," he said. "A lot of
thought is going into it."

If a client is treated by the Family & Children's Services' COPES
(mental health mobile crisis team), their information will be
entered into the database. Then, if they go to the Salvation Army
for shelter, their case manager can pull up the information

"One of the things that the homeless complain about is having to
re-explain their case history and personal information to
different providers," Lyall said. "This eliminates the need for
them to do so."

Homeless clients complied when tracking tuberculosis became
necessary so officials hope Share Link eventually will be
embraced. All clients are supposed to carry a TB testing card,
but because of Share Link, that may no longer be needed.

"We're hoping that they see that this is a better service for
them and go along with it," Lyall said.

Share Link was paid for through donations from a private
foundation and grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development and Health and Human Services.

The system is expected to be fully operational by early 2004.

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