HMIS Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

Home for Good, a program of the United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley, is responsible for implementing our HMIS, as well as organize training’s, user groups, and provide technical support.

HMIS is targeted towards homeless shelters, transitional housing programs for the homeless, permanent supportive housing programs for formerly homeless persons, and other homeless service programs. HMIS is also used by Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Programs. Some agencies are required to use HMIS if they receive certain types of funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Other homeless programs are encouraged to use HMIS because it helps provide us with a more complete picture of homelessness.

We use ClientTrack, a software solution provider based out of Salt Lake City, UT. You can visit there website to find out more about them: www.clienttrack.net

HMIS is subsidized by HUD, so there is no cost at all for homeless service providers

Anyone wanting to use HMIS will need to attend a New User Training Sessions. You can register for the New User Trainings by visiting the “Training” section of our website. Each person will also need to fill out a copy of the “End-User Agreement”. That document can be found on the “HMIS Starter Kit” page.

The amount of allowed users is based on the volume of clients and services. Each person will need to have their own username and cannot share usernames or passwords.

No. Domestic violence programs are prohibited from using HMIS according to the Violence Against Women Act of 2005.

Faith-based organizations can have the same benefits of using HMIS as any organization. This includes the same access to training, onsite assistance, and technology funds.

A general HMIS training takes about 2 hours. It covers basic HMIS functions like Client Intake, Services, and Discharge. More advanced training is also available. Trainings are conducted in person, and usually we are available to come to you. For larger groups of people, we usually schedule a meeting room at the library on Macon Rd. We are also able to do refresher courses on a case by case basis through joinme.com. These allow ongoing training’s to take place.

Everyone at your agency who will be using the HMIS should attend HMIS training, as well as anyone who will be collecting information about your clients using paper surveys.

No. HMIS is entirely web-based. All you need is an Internet connection.

HMIS has many potential benefits, such as:

  • Better coordination of services
  • Less duplication of intake and assessment
  • Track client outcomes
  • Print reports at the touch of a button
  • Analyze data by population, subpopulation, gender, age, etc.
  • Generate an unduplicated count of persons served
  • Educate your community with good, solid, numbers
  • Use data to communicate more effectively with funders and donors

A supportive housing program analyzed their HMIS data by subpopulation and discovered that clients who were also military veterans had a much shorter length of stay than any other subpopulation. The agency realized there was a need to develop better collaborations with local veteran’s service organizations. This issue would not have been discovered without the ability to analyze data using HMIS.

A homeless program administrator routinely spent over 40 hours preparing their HUD Annual Progress Report (APR). With HMIS, the administrator simply clicks on a button that says “Print APR.” The entire process takes less than five minutes. By using the HMIS, administrative time is significantly reduced, allowing staff to spend more time working directly with the clients.

United Way calls and wants to know the average age of a homeless person in your community. They want to use the information as the centerpiece of their annual giving campaign. HMIS can be used to quickly generate information needed by funders.

The main risk of HMIS revolves around privacy and confidentiality. To ensure that information in HMIS is kept secure we regularly audit agencies to make sure they are following all security guidelines. Each user will be given their own username and password and we are able to audit a user’s activity should there be a suspected breach of confidentiality.

HMIS is a Client-Choice system, meaning that the clients have the choice of keeping their data confidential or sharing their information with other partner agencies. Client’s must sign a release in order to share their information. The benefit of sharing information is that other agencies will be able to pull up their data and will not need to ask the same questions each time a client presents for services. However, it is important that staff make sure the client’s understand their rights. More often than not, consumers are more concerned with getting food and shelter than with safeguarding their data and may be willing to sign anything put in front of them if it is not explained carefully in language that they will understand.

The HMIS has several built-in security precautions. First, the HMIS software has a multi-level “permission” structure governed by passwords. A password allows the user to see only the data that is relevant to them. The systems also uses 128 bit encryption technology – the same technology used for online banking – to render the database unreadable to anyone who attempts an unauthorized use of the system. In addition, IHCDA has developed client consent forms (to inform clients of their rights) and Agency Partner Agreements, and a user Code of Ethics to ensure the data is used and collected responsibly. Lastly, the government will not see any client level data.

We understands that adopting a new technology can be a daunting task. HMIS staff is committed to helping your agency implement the HMIS in the way that best integrates with your normal workflow. HMIS is expected to reduce the amount of administrative time spent on a program. Imagine the amount of time you spend preparing summary data for your board meeting, combing through sign-in sheets, tallying up demographics. Using the HMIS, that same report could be printed in less than two minutes. Your agency may choose to use HMIS for a single program for a while, until you are comfortable with the technology. We will be with you each step of the way, whether it is on the phone or onsite at your agency.

Check out our HMIS Report page on our website as it’s updated with the data we’re able to pull from our HMIS.

Try searching with broad conditions set for the name. For example if you client’s name is Phillip Johnson, try just search “P” in the first name and “J” in the last name. Then look through the list to see if there is a possible match

If you still don’t see the client, you can try searching for them by just the social security number or just the date of birth.

Basic Client Information

To edit basic client information first find and select the client that you wish to edit and then click on the “Edit Client” menu option in the “Clients” tab. This will pull up a page where you can edit the basic client information. When you have made all of the correction that you need to simply click on the finish button to save the changes to the client record.**NOTE: Please only correct information that you have seen a hard copy record of and know is correct.**

Issues should typically fall into one of three categories 1) Technical malfunctions of the website 2) Requests for UHMIS staff to delete or change/ something in the system (that you can’t do on your own) 3) Requests to have additional programs, grants, or services built.

Once you have submitted your issue it is placed into our internal issue queue. Someone from our staff usually reviews and assigns the issues at least once a day. Once assigned a HFG staff member will contact you regarding the issue. Typically this correspondence will be though the issue system with in client track, so please keep an eye on your submitted issues in the system. You can expect that the assigned staff member will make contact with you with in 5 business days.

Submit an issue in ClientTrack requesting that staff review the possible duplicate. Please be specific and detailed in your issue.

Submit an issue in ClientTrack requesting that we delete the duplicate enrollment. Please be specific and detailed in your issue. In example, tell us the dates of the enrollments, the program of the enrollments, tell us which family members need to have the enrollment deleted, why the duplicate enrollment occurred. Make it as obvious as possible for staff which enrollment you want deleted.