What is HMIS?

HMIS stands for Homeless Management Information System. HMIS is a software application designated to record and store client-level data, including the characteristics and service needs of the homeless community. It was developed in a response to Congress’s request for unduplicated information about how the funds appropriated for homeless programs are being spent. Congress is not only interested in fiscal responsibility, but also wants to know who the homeless are (as a group) as well as understand the outcomes of the programs assisting them. In March 2010, HUD updated the standards relating to data collection and reporting.

Is my Agency required to use HMIS?

All agencies receiving federal funds from the McKinney-Vento HUD Program for use in serving the homeless community are required to participate in the HMIS. Starting in 2011, Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) and Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) providers are also required to participate. Additionally, your agency may have to use the HMIS if you operate certain programs funded by the VA, HHS, SAMHSA, or other government and private funders. However, domestic violence victim service providers are prohibited from entering client data in the HMIS because of the federal law (VAWA).

Can my Agency still use HMIS even though it is not required?

Yes! We would be very pleased to have your agency participate in HMIS if you provide services and/or shelter to the homeless community. The more information we have the better. The information helps to provide a more accurate picture of the homeless community in the Houston/Harris County/Ft. Bend County area. If your agency is interested in participating in HMIS, please send an inquiry to HMIS@homelesshouston.org.

What are the benefits to a homeless service provider of using HMIS?

Having access to the HMIS represents a strategic advantage for service providers. The HMIS software we use allows multi-level client data sharing between organizations, as well as client case coordination and electronic referrals. Our locally developed information sharing model can prevent service duplications and enable collaboration between various homeless service providers, while limiting access to sensitive data. Client privacy is very important to us.

In addition to the standard data collection and reporting functionalities, the HMIS software includes a comprehensive case management module, bed management, performance measurement tools, ad-hoc reporting, software customization options, etc.

Lastly, providers already in HMIS are better positioned to apply for future funding opportunities, as many national and local funders now require HMIS participation.

What HMIS software is currently used in Houston/Harris County?

The HMIS software currently used in Houston/Harris County/Ft. Bend County is called ClientTrack. It was developed by ClientTrack, Inc., a privately held company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. ClientTrack software is compliant with the latest HMIS data standards as well as HIPAA privacy standards. For more information about ClientTrack, please visit their website.

If I experience a problem using the HMIS or have general questions, what should I do?

The preferred way to communicate with the Coalition HMIS Support Team is to send an IssueTrak ticket. IssueTrak is a help desk software application available to all active HMIS users. Any questions, requests, or other issues should be submitted through IssueTrak. Every ticket submitted is assigned a tracking number, allowing the HMIS team to effectively address each concern.

For general questions about the HMIS, or if you have problems accessing IssueTrak, please send an email to HMIS@homelesshouston.org.