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Homeless Management Information Services Defined

October 26, 2021

Nonprofit organizations and public agencies use CaseWorthy for their case management processes because it’s a scalable case management solution that can be tailored for a wide variety of program types. One of the verticals CaseWorthy serves is homeless management, which requires its own set of security and compliance standards. Here’s what you need to know about the federal regulations for this vertical and what you should look for in an HMIS solution.

Why Is Special Software Needed for Homeless Management?

People experiencing homelessness are an especially vulnerable people group. Government bodies and nonprofit organizations provide a myriad of services, typically using a strengths-based or wraparound approach, to support these individuals. To help keep these individuals and their data safe as they work through programs, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) developed a standard for software known as Homeless Management Information Services (HMIS).

The purpose of this system is to securely collect, organize, and analyze homelessness data. In order to receive certain types of funding, organizations typically need to have an HMIS system in place–a normal database just won’t cut it.

What Is Homeless Management Information Services Software (HMIS)?

Also known as Homeless Management Information Systems, HMIS software is a localized information technology system used to collect client-level data and information on the provision of housing and services to homeless individuals, families, and people at risk of becoming homeless.

HMIS software is localized because the federal government recognizes that local organizations and committees are the best equipped to handle homelessness initiatives in their area. The government allows each community to approach handling homelessness in their own ways with minimal regulation, so long as certain compliance standards are met. These organizations, their partners, and their governing boards are known as a Continuum of Care (CoC).

Continuum of Care

CoCs are regional or local planning bodies that coordinate homeless services such as emergency shelter, transitional housing services, permanent housing programs, and domestic violence assistance programs for homeless families and individuals. They apply for grants and federal funding and apply the resources they have to run homeless programs, attempting to end the cycle in their localities.

Case managers and service providers must perform precise data collection that prioritizes confidentiality in order to maintain the integrity of the homelessness programs they administer. CaseWorthy is ready to handle any information load or security requirements your nonprofit may have.

HMIS Data and Technical Standards

The HEARTH Act of 2009 requires that all HMIS software follow specific guidelines that prevent duplication of data and collect accurate information about each person assisted through homelessness programs. Both technical and security requirements are involved, and CaseWorthy is fully configured to handle their implementation.

Key Features Needed In HMIS Software

A few specific features are needed or preferred in case management software in order for nonprofits and public agencies to manage their homelessness programs according to HUD standards. Some of these features include:

  • Secure client intakes: Your system should be able to safely log and store client information so only case managers and strategy teams can access it.
  • Portals: With this feature, clients can log in and submit personal information on their own in order to expedite the process of getting the aid they need.
  • Bed management and housing: Being able to see exactly what resources are available at any given time for people experiencing homelessness is critical to providing necessary services.
  • Reporting: Keeping data elements organized and loading them into reports is an important part of evaluating outcomes.

CaseWorthy Is Equipped For HMIS

Collecting HMIS data and using it effectively is a major part of many organizations’ ongoing mission of providing services to the homeless. CaseWorthy operates with the organization and the client in mind, allowing full customization and scaling of software services according to HUD’s regulations and the organization or CoC’s specific needs. To learn more about how CaseWorthy can help your organization or CoC, watch our webinar!