Frequently Asked Questions

Alameda County FAQs


Q:  What is Informed Consent?

A:  Being “informed” means having an understanding of the facts. If the client doesn’t understand the information provided, they can’t give informed consent allowing agencies that provide services to people who are homeless to access their personal identifying information


Q:  What are the two consent models used in the Alameda County CoC? Do they both meet Informed Consent standards?

A:  Alameda County implements two consent models: Assumed Consent and Explicit Consent. In the Assumed Consent model, a notice is posted explaining the purpose of collecting HMIS information, permissible uses, and disclosures. Staff members discuss this notice with clients, who then agree to provide their personal information. On the other hand, the Explicit Consent model requires clients to sign a formal release of information (ROI) allowing service providers to share their personal information. Agency policy may mandate staff to obtain signed ROIs. Additionally, an ROI must be signed for any use or disclosure beyond what is allowed or not listed in the CHO's privacy notice. Both models adhere to the 2004 HMIS Data and Technical Standards outlined by the Department of Housing and Development.


Q: How will I know which consent model to use?

A: Your agency may specify the consent model to be used. If you're unsure, consult your agency's HMIS Liaison.


Q: What are the benefits of an assumed consent model?

A: The assumed consent model offers a low-barrier approach, enabling timely and coordinated addressing of client needs.



Q: If two assisted families have joint custody of the same child, how can the Public Housing Agency (PHA) avoid a duplicate tenant error in Public Housing Information Center (PIC)?

A: Only one assisted household may claim the dependent. PIC will not accept a submitted record if a household member’s name already appears in another household. To avoid this error, the PHA should adopt a policy that determines which household may claim the dependent.


Q: How will Assumed Consent be recognized in the HMIS?

A: Service provider staff complete a Staff Attestation Form, confirming that they explained the Privacy Notice and obtained verbal consent from the client to share their personal information. The HMIS will indicate assumed consent when the client's personal information is present in the system without a signed ROI.


Q: How will Explicit Consent be recognized in the HMIS?

A: The HMIS has a designated field to note when a client has signed an ROI, indicating explicit consent.


Q: What if a client refuses? What forms do we need to complete?

A: If a client objects to providing consent, staff will mark 'Yes' and sign the document, and no further forms need to be completed.


Q: If a client is already enrolled in a program but needs to be enrolled in Coordinated Entry, do we need a new Staff Attestation form?

A: No, a new Staff Attestation Form is not required. The current form covers all HMIS programs.


Q: If a client isn't enrolling in any program except Coordinated Entry, do we still need to complete the Staff Attestation form?

A: Yes, the Staff Attestation Form is required for Coordinated Entry since it is an HMIS program.



Q: What training is required before accessing the HMIS?

A: To gain access to the HMIS, you must complete both the Privacy and Security Course and the Software How-To Course. If you're handling personal information but not entering data, completing the Privacy and Security training is sufficient.


Q: How long does the training take?

A: The Privacy and Security course can be completed in one to two hours, while the Software How-To course takes four to six hours. The training is self-paced, allowing you to pause and resume as needed.


Q: Do I need to repeat Privacy and Security training? How often?

A: The Privacy and Security training MUST be updated annually.


Q: What if our staff completed the required compliance training offered by HCSA a few months ago? Do they still need to complete Privacy and Security 2.0?

A: This matter will be discussed with the HMIS oversight committee based on the Alameda County CoC and HMIS Lead MOU. Further information will be provided following the committee's decision.

Q: I am a new user, how can I access Clarity HMIS?

A: If your agency would like to request HMIS access for a new user, please follow the steps below. 

For additional information on accessing the Training, please reference the Step-by-Step Guide to Accessing the Training Platform.

  1. Complete the Alameda: Privacy and Security Training and the Clarity Human Services: General Training HERE.
    • As of September 1st, Clarity Human Services: General Training replaced the Alameda: Software How-To. If staff have started on Alameda: Software How-To, they will have 30 days to complete the training before they will have to restart and take the Clarity Human Services: General Training.
    • If you are unable to access the Alameda: Privacy and Security Training or Clarity Human Services: General Training, please contact the Bitfocus Help Desk at
  2. Once complete, have your Agency Liaison send a ticket to the Bitfocus help desk at
    • Please include the following information when sending your request to the Bitfocus Help Desk:
      • Users Name
      • Users Agency Email
      • Access Role:
        • Agency Staff
        • Agency Manager

For any requests that do not pertain to new user account creation, passwords, or logging in, please email the Alameda County Help Desk at


Coordinated Entry

Q: How can a client's enrollment in Housing Problem Solving or Coordinated Entry be reopened if it was exited incorrectly?

A: This form provides guidance for situations where individuals or households are mistakenly exited from Housing Problem Solving (HPS) or Coordinated Entry (CE) due to auto-exit processes. This can happen if documentation is incomplete in HPS or if qualifying entries are absent in CE for six months. Preventing auto exits is important, and if needed, manual exits should be performed to ensure accurate client data and reflect their ongoing circumstances.


User Home Screen: Custom Login Screen

Q: How can I change my HMIS home screen upon login?