A Homeless Management Information System, HMIS, is a data collection system, which allows communities to collect, store, and report information about homeless, or at risk of homelessness, individuals, and families receiving services. In 2000, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a mandate that communities receiving homeless funding must implement an HMIS for all residents receiving services paid for by these funds. Alameda County receives approximately $37 million annually from HUD, and to protect this funding, the County has implemented the HMIS. Through community partnerships of service providers and local governments, the County collects the data and regularly reports on the data collected.
Alameda County implemented its first HMIS in 2005, called InHOUSE (Information about Homelessness, Outcomes, and Service Engagement). In 2018, due to changes in the HUD data collection requirements and user feedback, the InHOUSE system was replaced and renamed Alameda County HMIS (ACHMIS). The ACHIMS is supported by a coalition of Alameda County, the fourteen cities within the county, nonprofit organizations and funders, as well as other county departments which provide services to those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
ACHMIS went ‘Live’ mid May 2018; migrating 186 users, 51 partner providers and cities, and 362 programs. Since going live, has added 535 new programs, supports over 860 users, and has grown to 107 partners. Additionally, data from ACHMIS is shared with the Community Health Record, continuing the County’s commitment to a holistic approach to Homelessness, allowing healthcare providers visibility into a patient’s housing situation.
A Continuum of Care (CoC) is a regional or local planning body that coordinates housing and services funding for homeless families and individuals. All CoCs are responsible for the oversight and operation of a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). The HMIS operates as a shared system among participating Covered Homeless Organizations (CHOs) to view client-level data. The HMIS is designed to improve effectiveness and efficiency for clients, CHOs, provider agencies, jurisdictions, other systems of care, funders, and the community. Improved knowledge gained from HMIS about various communities with special needs and supportive interventions can lead to more targeted and impactful assistance, ensuring that homeless individuals and families receive the housing and services they require. The HMIS enables data-driven decision-making, fosters collaboration among stakeholders, and enhances resource allocation to address homelessness effectively. By understanding the unique needs of different communities, interventions can be tailored to provide better outcomes and support for those experiencing homelessness.