Victim Service Providers (VSPs) are unique among health and human service organizations. Not only do they work among the most vulnerable populations in our communities, they also must adhere to strict rules from HUD in order to receive funding. VSPs need experts to help navigate these unique challenges in their data security and case management.
VSPs and HUD
Health and human service organizations that focus on helping those who experience domestic violence are known as victim service providers, or VSPs. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines VSPs as “private nonprofit organization(s) whose primary mission is to provide direct services to victims of domestic violence.”
These types of organizations include, but are not limited to:
- Domestic violence shelters
- Transitional housing programs
- Rape crisis centers
- Dating violence support programs
- Advocacy and support services
- Emergency housing providers
- Rapid re-housing programs
- Crisis call lines
- Educational programs
- Self-defense courses
- Medical support
The importance of VSPs cannot be understated. They serve as a lifeline–sometimes the only lifeline–for victims and survivors of domestic violence. It is critical for the health of communities that VSPs are able to function, receive funding, and expand their programs.
HUD is often the main source of funding for VSPs, as they can provide essential grants to keep these programs running. It’s not exactly easy to score this funding, however; HUD requires strict compliance to their regulations. This is in large part due to the sensitive nature of what VSPs work with, including vulnerable populations. One mistake, and a VSP could lose the majority of its HUD funding. This possibility highlights exactly why VSPs need subject matter experts to help them navigate the world of HUD, funding, and Comparable Databases.
The Need for Experts
When there’s a lot on the line, it’s critical to have expert help. Failure to adhere to HUD standards means that a VSP not only loses its funding to function but also can no longer help the people it needs to. Unfortunately, ensuring that adherence is kept can be a difficult process.
For instance, consider this checklist from HUD. VSPs must know the ins-and-outs of their data process, including whether their database “contains all of the Universal Data Elements (UDE) and response categories” and “can dynamically manage households as members join and depart from the household”.
Sounds complicated? You’re not the only one that thinks so. These excerpts highlight just how important it is to have someone on your VSP team that understands the vernacular of HUD and keeps up-to-date on any changes that are made.
Thankfully, this does not mean that you need to hire a new full-time staff member to keep up-to-date. Instead, you can look to your case management provider–such as the industry leading ClientTrack® system–to ensure total compliance. When you have a HUD-fluent case management provider, you can skip the red tape and confusing possibility of non-compliance. In fact, consider adding an expert database system to your VSP for these three reasons: the unique needs of VSPs, the complicated nature of HUD compliance, and the responsibility of data management.
1) The Unique Needs of VSPs
If you’re a VSP, then you know that your organization varies a lot from other health and human services. This is the first thing VSPs need to recognize when considering the need for HUD expertise; a case management system that works with HMIS and HUD compliance does not necessarily mean that they are also experts on VSPs and HUD.
VSPs should be wary of “one-size-fits-all” mentalities from their case management system or Comparable Database. Instead, keep your eye out for experts with proven experience working with VSPs.
Experts that know the vernacular you use, as well as the jargon of HUD, are indispensable. Eccovia has full-time staff devoted to learning both of these ‘languages’ and ensures that communication, compliance, and coherency are all met. Understand that the unique needs of your organization are not to be dismissed, least of all by your case management provider.
2) The Complicated Nature of HUD Compliance
The second reason that a VSP should consider a Comparable Database run by experts is the complicated nature of HUD compliance. It is no secret that HUD compliance requires checking off a lot of boxes, and if your team is not paying attention, it is easy to miss one.
Plus, these requirements can often take up a lot of precious hours from HHS employees who could be instead using that time to help the populations they serve.
Eccovia’s team of HUD experts devote their time to (1) staying up to date with all HUD requirements and (2) ensuring that all relevant ClientTrack users are in accordance with these requirements. While our team focuses on meeting these HUD standards, your VSP team can focus on providing victim assistance.
3) The Responsibility of Data Management
The third reason VSPs should consider HUD experts for their case management is straightforward: data management requires a lot of responsibility. The data a VSP works with is usually extremely sensitive and therefore needs to be treated with careful hands.
Many (if not most) of HUD’s strict requirements stem from needing to keep all client data safe and secure. ClientTrack has a proven record of utilizing industry-standards for data security. Just ask one of our long-time partners, Safe Horizon. Safe Horizon is one of the nation’s largest VSPs, and through ClientTrack has been able to secure HUD funding, keep their data safe, and expand their services.
Find Your Expert Today
More than anything, VSPs deserve to function knowing that they will be able to meet all HUD requirements and secure their services. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by HUD compliance–or just want to make sure that your Comparable Database is up to standard–consider integrating ClientTrack into your process today.
You can reach out for a free demo here. Let our HUD experts help you do what you do best: provide victim services for those in need.