What is HMIS?
The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other planners and policymakers at the federal, state and local levels use aggregate HMIS data to obtain better information about the extent and nature of homelessness in CoC’s (Continuum of Care) across the country.
HMIS can be used to produce an unduplicated count of homeless persons, understand patterns of service use, and measure the effectiveness of homeless programs.
The HMIS does not provide clients’ personal information to HUD or any other entity. The HMIS is used to generate aggregate counts for HUD as well as other potential funders of homeless services and housing oportunities. Personal data elements are only entered into the HMIS to prevent duplication in the database. (One person’s name, date of birth and gender, when grouped together, are unlikely to match those of another person.)
What does our database look like?
HMIS has grown:
•Our HMIS began in 2003.
•In 2004 we had about 1500** client records entered in the database and 4 agencies participating.
•To date, we have over 37,000** client records entered into the database with 19 agencies participating and over 40 programs participating from those agencies, with a grand total of 111 active HMIS users.**These stats don’t accurately represent the picture of homelessness for the Big Bend area but demonstrate the rapid growth and importance of HMIS. We have both homeless and non-homeless/at-risk clients entered in our database.
Our continuum can achieve a more accurate count of homelessness through more agency and program participation, This can help our community to better analyze what homelessness looks like so that we can work together effectively as service providers to develop plans to end homelessness in our communities.
HMIS Helps to;
ACCESS FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
For those who get HUD funds, this electronic collection of data on clients is federally mandated (with funding leverage):
Other types of funding requiring HMIS data collection and reporting include:
-ESG, HHAG (DCF), HUD CoC (Nofa)
-All SSVF, and most recently, RHY and PATH grantees
State and local funding are starting to require participation and reporting from HMIS as well.
Many other agencies who participate in HMIS are not required by HUD to participate. All agencies that participate help improve our CoC’s standing with federal, state and local grant funders. Funds received from these grants help provide CoC-wide benefits to our clients experiencing or at-risk of experiencing homelessness.
The HMIS can also help us improve the coordination of services to clients. With the new implementation of a Coordinated Assessment in our community, HMIS will better help providers connect with one another in providing the necessary services to many of our neighbors experiencing a housing crisis.
In short, full participation in HMIS means our CoC is better able to leverage funding and influence public policy as HUD electronic data entry requirements tighten.