How should a project’s bed inventory be reported on the HIC if we do not have a set number of beds, such as in tenant-based projects? How should voucher-based emergency shelter (ES) projects be reported in the HIC?

Date Published: January 2019

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Many communities have questions about how tenant-based and voucher-based projects’ bed inventories should be tracked and reported. This issue is directly related to HIC reporting and to Longitudinal Systems Analysis (LSA) reporting.

It is imperative to remember that only the beds available on the night designated for the HIC be reported on the HIC. Projects should not assume that this is the same as the number of beds projected to be available in their CoC application or an annualized number of beds available over the course of a year. If what is available on the night of the HIC is not known for some reason, CoCs may use actual occupancy numbers or the inventory estimate from their application only if they think it is accurate.

For voucher-based ES beds specifically, CoCs should include the following data elements on their HIC submission:

  • Housing Type [Data Element 2.8, Field 8]: Tenant-based / scattered-site

  • Bed Type [Data Element 2.7, Fields 8-10] (This data element is only reported for ES projects): Voucher-based beds

In general, and for LSA, CoCs should track their housing inventory on an ongoing basis according to the instructions in the HMIS Data Standards—not merely for four points in time. See section 2.7 of the 2017 HMIS Data Standards Manual, which includes the following instructions:

  • “Changes over time should be documented such that a historical record of inventory is retained. Minor day-to-day fluctuations need not be recorded, but differences due to significant changes in project operations should be entered as they occur” (pg. 22).
  • “Projects that provide housing rental assistance and have a fixed number of vouchers should determine the number of beds and units based on the number of vouchers currently funded and available for use” (pg. 24).
  • “Projects that provide emergency shelter or housing rental assistance vouchers and without a fixed number of units or vouchers (e.g., Emergency Shelter-hotel/motel project, Rapid Re-Housing, some scattered site PH-Permanent Supportive Housing) should determine the number of beds (and units) based on the maximum number of persons (and households) who can be housed on a given night” (pg. 24).

In short, it is expected that many projects will have minor fluctuations in inventory from day to day. However, to ensure that the inventory record in HMIS is as accurate as possible, we encourage communities to make updates if there is a significant change in project operations. If there are no changes in inventory, you need only to confirm your inventory ahead of official HIC reporting. If you do that, the inventory will also be fine for LSA purposes.


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