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Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Introduction to Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS)

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Presentation on theme: "Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Introduction to Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Introduction to Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS)

2 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 2 Overview What is HMIS? Benefits of HMIS Pros and Cons of HMIS History of HMIS HMIS is a Tool, Not the Goal Sample Local HMIS Initiatives

3 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 3 What is HMIS? Homeless Management Information System A Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is a computerized data collection tool specifically designed to capture client-level, system-wide information over time on the characteristics and services needs of men, women, and children experiencing homelessness. HMISs are typically web-based software applications that local homeless communities implement to enter and share client-level data across agencies about homeless persons served in shelters or other homeless service agencies. HMIS allows the aggregation of client-level data across homeless service agencies to generate unduplicated counts and service patterns of clients served.

4 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 4 What is HMIS? Homeless Management Information System An HMIS is either a vendor developed or a community’s locally developed software system that records and stores information on homeless clients served HUD’s National Data and Technical Standards establish baseline standards for participation, data collection, privacy and security Implementation of HMIS is a requirement for receipt of Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) McKinney-Vento funding Please Review HMIS Terms and Acronyms Handout

5 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 5 What is HMIS? Homeless Management Information System HMIS records and stores: – Client Intake Demographics Basic assessment of needs Bed utilization – Service Tracking Services delivered by a provider Services received by clients Gaps in the homeless services in a community.

6 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 6 What is HMIS? Homeless Management Information System Case Management – Ability to plan, schedule, and follow-up on delivery of services – Ability to track changes in clients over time – Ability to monitor and measure performance goals and outcomes Information and Referral (I & R) – Database of available resources – Online referrals – Electronic submission of applications for benefits and eligibility determination.

7 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 7 Triangle of Benefits of HMIS Homeless Service Providers CoC Coordinators, Policy Makers, Government Officials Homeless Men Women and Children

8 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 8 Benefits for Homeless Men, Women, and Children Decrease in duplicate intakes and assessments Streamlined referrals Coordinated case management Mainstream benefit eligibility and/or determination Professional development through involvement in planning process

9 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 9 Benefits for Homeless Service Providers Improve agency effectiveness through tracking client outcomes Coordinate services, internally among agency programs, and externally with other providers Prepare financial and programmatic reports for funders, boards, and other stakeholders Inform program design decisions

10 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 10 Benefits for Community Coordinators, Policy Makers, and Government Officials Increase the understanding of the local extent and scope of homelessness Facilitate an unduplicated count of persons experiencing homelessness Identify service gaps (i.e. are the services available meeting the needs of clients) Inform systems design and policy decisions Develop a forum for addressing community-wide issues

11 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 11 Pros and Cons of HMIS vs. Traditional Methods Method: Point in Time Counts – Count everyone who is homeless on one night – Pro: Unduplicated number of people on the street or in shelter in one night, includes those not served by homeless programs – Con: No information on whether those people were homeless for one night or all year. Under-represents those that move in and out of the system throughout a time period. Why is HMIS a better alternative than point in time counts or aggregate service provider reports for gathering community- wide information on homelessness?

12 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 12 Pros and Cons of HMIS vs. Traditional Methods Method: Summation of aggregate reports from funded agencies – Each program generates aggregate data about persons served over a time period (i.e. a year) – Pro: Broader information about population served throughout all programs – Con: Duplicated counts, the same people are counted by multiple programs; limited understanding of patterns of service use or total population size.

13 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 13 Why HMIS Over Other Methods? Summary of Approaches Method Generates Unduplicated Counts Patterns of Entering and Exiting Homelessness In-Depth Information on Clients and Needs One Night CountYesNo Service Provider Reports No Yes HMISYes

14 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 14 History of HMIS 1980 – early 1990s: Big cities with large homeless populations pioneer the use of computer-based tracking systems 2001: Congress directs HUD to develop an unduplicated count of the homeless; HUD requires all McKinney-Vento funded homeless grantees to implement HMIS 2004: Final HMIS Data and Technical Standards are published 2005: First National Annual Homeless Assessment Report

15 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 15 HMIS Congressional Directive In 2001, Congress directed HUD on the need for data and analysis on the extent of homelessness and the effectiveness of the McKinney-Vento Act Programs including: – Developing unduplicated counts of clients served at the local level; – Analyzing patterns of use of people entering and exiting the homeless assistance system; and – Evaluating the effectiveness of these systems.

16 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 16 HMIS Data and Technical Standards Final Notice HMIS Data and Technical Standards Final Notice was published by HUD in 2004 Sets the expectation for participation and data collection for providers of homeless services Defines universal and program-specific data elements Prioritizes HMIS implementation by program type Sets baseline privacy and security requirements

17 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 17 HMIS is a Tool, Not the Goal What questions can HMIS help to answer: – At the local level? – At the national level? How are communities implementing HMIS at the local level? – Background – Uses of Data

18 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 18 What Questions Can HMIS Answer for Local Communities? How many people are homeless on the streets and in the service system? How many are chronically or episodically homeless? What are the characteristics and service needs of those served? Which programs are most effective at reducing and ending homelessness?

19 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 19 What Questions Can HMIS Answer for the Nation? How many people are homeless in the United States? Who is homeless? Where do people receive shelter and services and where did they live before homelessness? What are the patterns of homeless residential program use? What is the nation’s capacity for housing homeless people and how much is utilized?

20 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 20 HMIS Will Inform the Development of HUD’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report What is the AHAR? – It is an annual report to Congress about the number and characteristics of people who use homeless residential services and their patterns of use. – The AHAR is HUD’s initial strategy to respond to the Congressional Directive. – The first AHAR will include basic demographic and intake/exit data on people who used emergency shelters and transitional housing during 2005.

21 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 21 Sample Local HMIS Initiatives Kansas City Metropolitan Area Ramsey County, Minnesota City of Spokane, Washington Washington, D.C.

22 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 22 Mid America Assistance Collation (MAACLink) - Background Implementation: – 5 County implementation across Missouri/Kansas state borders – Began entering data in 1994 – agencies on board including emergency assistance, food pantries, emergency shelters, transitional housing, supportive service providers Funding: – Anticipated cost: $600,000/year – Funding from foundations, program fees, corporate grants, United Way, individuals, and religious organizations

23 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 23 MAACLink Uses HMIS Data to: Maximize funds for emergency assistance programs; Target resources to areas of need; Measure program outcomes; Advocate on behalf of low income and homeless persons; Fulfill reporting requirements.

24 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 24 MAACLink Publishes Annual Statistical Report Every year Mid American Assistance Coalition publishes an annual statistical report that has found: – Information and referral hotline received 17,885 telephone calls for emergency assistance in 2004; – 80% of emergency assistance services were provided to residents in 20 metro zip codes in 2004; – 7,896 homeless households received emergency assistance in 2003; and – 136,809 bed nights were provided to 6,766 individuals in MAACLinks Statistical Reports can be downloaded at

25 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 25 Minnesota HMIS - Background Established in 1991 in the city of St. Paul / Ramsey County. Developed from one of the nation’s first HMIS projects. Statewide collaborative of the 13 Continua of Care administered by Wilder Research Center and governed by a diverse group of homeless service providers On any given night nearly 9,000 Minnesotans are homeless The number of homeless families in Minnesota more than tripled between 1991 and 2003.

26 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 26 Minnesota HMIS - Ramsey County Data Data submitted by 6 emergency shelters; analyzed over 13 years. In 2003, 4,215 individuals used emergency shelter in Ramsey County, a 20% increase from % were single men; 14% single women; 25% individuals in families 2/5 of the children served in families were under the age of 4 Trend in 2003 was toward more frequent and shorter stays driven in part by the conversion of a 150-bed winter shelter to a year- round shelter An additional 1,129 women exited domestic violence shelters in 2003

27 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 27 City of Spokane - Background Begun in 1995, the Spokane Human Services Department collaborated with organizations from the Spokane Homeless Coalition to implement a homeless information system The system was designed to: 1. Achieve an unduplicated count of homeless individuals and households living in the City of Spokane, 2. Understand the needs of the homeless population, 3. Improve communication among homeless providers. City of Spokane uses the HMIS to respond to a wide variety of public policy needs, as well as planning, reporting, and evaluation at both the provider and the government levels

28 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 28 City of Spokane - Data In 2004, 7294 unduplicated persons were homeless Homeless families with children represent slightly less than 20% of overall homeless population and earn on average $546/month Homeless households with children increased 10% from 2001 to 2004 More than 1 out of every 4 homeless household with children reported domestic violence as a reason for homelessness 1 of every 3 homeless adult reported a disability 10% of the homeless adult population were Veterans

29 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 29 Washington, D.C. - Background Beginning in 1999 and administered by the Community Partnership the D.C. HMIS has over 300 users, 5,000 clients entered, and over 200 active programs. The Community Partnership has worked to utilize data generated through HMIS to analyze and measure outcomes across the D.C. homeless system.

30 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 30 Washington, D.C. – Use of Data In 2005 the Community Partnership generated data through HMIS to measure performance of programs seeking renewals for their HUD grants. Data generated included: occupancy, income, and destination measures.

31 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 31 Washington D.C. – Data Collection and Outcome Measurement Occupancy - tracked entry and exit dates. It illustrated how a program was being utilized and whether clients were remaining in the program for the required period. – Calculation: Number of client occupied bed night/ Number of total bed nights in period Income - tracked and captured a series of cash and non- cash benefits. Both were weighted equally. – Cash benefits = TANF or Social Security. – Non-cash benefits = food stamps or subsidy vouchers. – A bonus point was given when a person obtained employment. – Calculation: Change in the number of income sources for a client after entry / total clients served

32 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 32 Washington D.C. – Data Collection and Outcome Measurement Destination - a list of destinations after a client left a program. This was an attribute of the success of the program. – Calculation: Positive destination / total destination Length of Stay (LOS) - tracked in lieu of Destination for Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Programs using entry and exit dates. – The goal of PSH is stability in permanent housing. – If a client was enrolled in a program and able to successfully remain in it for six months or more they obtained a point. – Calculation: LOS > 6 months / number of clients in program

33 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 33 Washington D.C. – Data Collection and Outcome Measurement Homeless Services Programs were also taken into account. Since the outcome goals for these programs were different, a different assessment was conducted. Street Outreach - an assessment that tracked their services transactions according to the needs of the chronically homeless. – Outreach work is unique – Engagements and services were tracked to determine: How many clients received services from duplicate organizations; and How many clients moved on to emergency shelter.

34 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 34 Summary of Key Issues All recipients of McKinney-Vento funding are required to participate in an HMIS. HMIS Benefits all stakeholders: – Consumers – Providers – CoC, Policy Makers, and Government Officials HMIS does more than just collect data.

35 Prepared by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 35 Additional Information About HMIS is Available HMIS Related Info: – – HMIS Data and Technical Standards Final Notice: – s/index.cfm s/index.cfm


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