What is HMIS?
HMIS stands for “Homeless Management Information System”. It’s a shared database designed to record and store client-level information on the characteristics and service needs of homeless persons. It’s something that homeless agencies use to coordinate care, manage their operations, and better serve their clients. It’s a great way we are able to use the power of technology to help both those experiencing homelessness and the agencies trying to help.
Our HMIS encompasses agencies both in Muscogee County GA, and Russell County AL.
While HMIS is a name for the type of system, “ClientTrack” is the specific HMIS our community uses.
The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other planners and policymakers at the federal, state and local levels use aggregate HMIS data to obtain better information about the extent and nature of homelessness over time. Specifically, an HMIS can be used to produce an unduplicated count of homeless persons, understand patterns of service use, and measure the effectiveness of homeless programs. (source: https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/hmis/)
A Brief History of HMIS
In 2001, Congress asked the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to take the lead in requiring communities to develop an unduplicated count of the homeless. To meet this goal, HUD required federally funded public and nonprofit organizations to implement a homeless tracking system. Out of this directive came the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). Because an HMIS has the capacity to integrate data from all homeless service providers in the community and to capture basic descriptive information on every person served, it meets HUD’s objectives and is a valuable resource for communities. At the national level, HMIS data can then be aggregated to provide the information necessary to establish effective national policies to address homelessness. One of the explicit goals of developing an HMIS is to gain a clearer understanding of the prevalence of homelessness and to track client service needs over time. Understanding the complexities of needs that people experiencing homelessness face, can help plan for a more responsive system of homeless service provision.