In an earlier blog from 2019, we outlined HMIS Data Standards and how they were changing. Now the changes have been made and it is time to reflect.
As a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Continuum of Care (CoC), it is vital to select a software that matches program-specific HMIS needs. With hundreds of potential software solutions to choose from, CoCs seek out systems best suited for their needs.
One of the most important aspects of selecting a new HMIS solution is finding software that supports compliance with data standards set by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). However, since HUD requirements are frequently updated, software companies need to keep ahead of the latest developments and tools.
HMIS DATA STANDARDS UPDATES
On October 1, 2019, HUD released the Interactive HMIS Data Standards Tool, the FY 2020 HMIS Data Dictionary, and the FY 2020 HMIS Data Standards Manual as user-friendly documentation to provide public knowledge of how systems can maintain HUD compliance. These updates will remain effective until September 30, 2021 (1) because data standards are constantly evolving as technology improves and expands. Each innovative tool is intended for a different group and purpose:
- The HMIS Data Manual is intended for data collection and reporting efforts of HMIS Lead Agencies, CoCs, HMIS System Administrators, and HMIS Users to help them meet HMIS HUD compliance with data elements.
- The HMIS Data Dictionary is intended for HMIS vendors and HMIS Lead Agency system administrators to locate the data elements required in an HMIS and understand the reasoning and purpose of each element from the appropriate federal partner.
- The Interactive HMIS Data Standards Tool is a web-based and interactive combination of the information from the HMIS Data Manual and HMIS Data Dictionary.
Each of these tools help keep HMIS programs and software systems updated with the most recent HUD compliance requirements.
HMIS CoC IN ACTION
As a leading HMIS vendor, Eccovia has been at the forefront of helping communities end homelessness for over 18 years.
The ClientTrack™ platform is an easy-to-use, cloud-based application designed to track the needs and progress of homeless individuals, measure service program and CoC performance, and provide a consistent, user-friendly experience across the entire user base. ClientTrack HMIS has helped CoCs nationwide manage intakes, perform assessments, provide real-time closed-loop referrals, and maintain compliance with HUD HMIS data standards.
Eccovia seeks to assist HMIS CoCs in their fight to end homelessness by maintaining the most current data standards available for the ClientTrack software. In July 2019, Eccovia was selected by the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) to provide our ClientTrack HMIS and data sharing platform for the Dallas County and Collin County Continuum of Care (2). More than 4,500 individuals are experiencing homelessness in Dallas and Collin Counties on any given night. ClientTrack continues to help Dallas and Collin County to improve the data quality, collaboration, and reporting capabilities for optimal allocation of resources and ongoing outcomes reporting.
FUTURE LOOK AT STANDARDS
The world of HMIS data standards is ever changing and it is evident that these changes will continue in the future. The current HMIS data standards are set to expire September of this year, and we expect to report on changes when they occur. As a company fully emersed in the world of HMIS data expectations, we will continue to grow and change along with these standards.
- Homeless Management Information System (HMIS):
“A Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is a local information technology system used to collect client-level data and data on the provision of housing and services to homeless individuals and families and persons at risk of homelessness. Each Continuum of Care (CoC) is responsible for selecting an HMIS software solution that complies with HUD’s data collection, management, and reporting standards.” (3)
HMIS reporting can help providers and communities better understand how to improve their programs and approaches by looking at higher level data to identify trends and barriers that are common challenges among their clients.
- Continuum of Care (CoC):
A Continuum of Care, or CoC, is a community level organization that exists to facilitate coordination between all the providers that address homelessness in a particular geographic region.
- Housing and Urban Development (HUD):
“HMIS data standards have been established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to allow for standardized data collection on homeless individuals and families across systems.” (1)
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