What is HMIS?

The HMIS (Homeless Management Information System) is a web-based computerized data collection system designed to capture client-level information over time on the characteristics and service needs of men, women, and children experiencing homelessness. HMIS is being developed in response to local needs, as well as Congressional direction and HUD requirements to collect an array of data on the homeless, including unduplicated counts of the homeless, their use of services and the effectiveness of local programs. In order to achieve this objective, HUD has encouraged communities to develop a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).

Each Continuum of Care jurisdiction must use client-level data to provide HUD with an unduplicated count of all clients served, not just those in HUD-funded projects. Beginning with 2003 Continuum of Care grants, HUD is requiring all Continuums of Care grant recipients to participate in a local HMIS. Effective with Federal FY03 ESG funding, ESG grant recipients are also required to participate in the local HMIS. Every agency in the Continuum will be encouraged to participate in the HMIS implementation. Participation means that agencies will need to enter client-level information about the clients served by each homeless program operated by the agency or provide aggregate-level data. In addition to complying with HUD’s new requirement, HMIS can benefit the community in the following ways:

  • Provide electronic storage of complete client records Facilitate continuity of care and ease of referrals among providers.
  • Speed homeless person’s access to needed resources.
  • Simplify reporting to funders.
  • Enhance service delivery.
  • Provide information for policy making.
  • Make it easier to learn about available services.

In an effort to be sensitive to the various needs of our Continuum partners we are offering the following options for HMIS participation:

  • Direct Partner Agency: enters data directly into the new HMIS system and has the ability to share information with other agencies within the Continuum of Care upon agreement between agencies.
  • Hidden Partner Agency: (i.e. Youth, Mental Health, HIV, etc.) enters data directly into the new HMIS system but no one beyond the originating agency has access to any client personal identifying information, in whole or in part, or any information that may be used to deconstruct a person’s identity.