What is HMIS, how does it work, and what does it do?
HMIS (Homeless Management Information System) is a web-based software application used to collect demographic information and service outcome information on people served. The purpose of HMIS is to record and store client-level information about the numbers, characteristics and needs of persons who use homeless housing and supportive services, and about persons who receive assistance for persons at risk of homelessness over time; to produce an unduplicated count of homeless persons for each Continuum of Care (CoC); to understand the extent and nature of homelessness locally, regionally, and nationally; and to understand patterns of service use and measure the effectiveness of programs. The Housing Urban Development (HUD) requires that each CoC designate a single information system as the official HMIS software for the geographic area. The Broward County CoC (FL-601) has selected Bowman Systems, LLC's ServicePoint.
The creation and maintenance of centralized client records also allows for the development of long-term goals and case plans. The ultimate goal is to place people into permanent housing. To reach this goal, manageable strategies must be developed, implemented, and tracked. ServicePoint allows care providers to identify and establish phased goals-over-time and the action steps necessary to achieve those goals. The software gives the CoC the power to drive an outcome rather than simply hoping for the best.
ServicePoint also comes with an array of reporting tools capable of collating both aggregate and local data. Among other things, customized reports give agencies the ability to spot trends in service demand and gaps in service delivery. The Advanced Reporting Tool (ART) continues to pioneer new avenues in the generation of meaningful data. The software is HUD-compliant, HIPAA-compliant, and fully-encrypted.
HMIS is used to collect and share client data; manage community resources; organize shelter information in real time; and get accurate outcome results. HMIS can also track outcomes and movements of homeless services consumers across municipalities and multi-county area in coordination with Miami-Dade County; who uses the same software as Broward County. The Broward County HMIS Policies and Procedures Manual is available for review online.
In addition to complying with HUD’s requirement, HMIS can benefit the community by providing electronic storage of complete client records, facilitating continuity of care and ease of referrals among providers, simplifying funder reporting, enhancing access to needed resources and services, and providing accurate data to assess service gaps across the CoC, and support management and policy making.